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Manzanar Celebrates Paiute-Shoshone Family With New Exhibit

By September 8, 2017September 15th, 2017No Comments

The Manzanar National Historic Site will hold a public reception inside the Visitor Center on Sept. 15 for its newest exhibit “A Paiute Story From Manzanar,” which showcases 100 years of the Button family’s history at Manzanar.

Irene Button age 4

The Button family, members of the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone tribe, has a long history with Manzanar dating back to the farming era. The family matriarch, Irene Button, lived with her family on Moffat Ranch, about four miles south of Manzanar. Irene Button’s uncle and great uncle, Louie and John Shepherd, respectively, were employed by John Shepherd on his ranch and were some of the first Paiute to take on their employer’s surname. The Eastern California Museum partnered with Manzanar to provide historic photographs for the exhibit.

“Park Ranger Mark Hachtmann and Latino Heritage Intern Rocio Gomez collaborated with the Button family over the past three months,” said Manzanar Superintendent Bernadette Johnson. “We are pleased to share the family’s story with the public. The Paiute-Shoshone connection to Manzanar is significant to the site, and stories like these shared by the Button family help us to preserve the history of the first inhabitants of the Owens Valley.”

Irene Button and her family donated several photographs, artifacts and documents to the site, most of which are on display in the exhibit. She and her family will be present at the reception.

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