By Benjamin Madley
among 1846 and 1873, California’s Indian inhabitants plunged from possibly 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the 1st historian to discover the total quantity of the slaughter, the involvement of country and federal officers, the taxpayer money that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended. This deeply researched booklet is a complete and chilling heritage of an American genocide.
Madley describes pre-contact California and precursors to the genocide ahead of explaining how the Gold Rush stirred vigilante violence opposed to California Indians. He narrates the increase of a state-sanctioned killing laptop and the huge societal, judicial, and political help for genocide. Many participated: vigilantes, volunteer kingdom militiamen, U.S. military infantrymen, U.S. congressmen, California governors, and others. The country and federal governments spent at the least $1,700,000 on campaigns opposed to California Indians. in addition to comparing executive officers’ culpability, Madley considers why the slaughter constituted genocide and the way different attainable genocides inside of and past the Americas may be investigated utilizing the tools provided during this groundbreaking book.
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Additional info for An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873
Photograph courtesy of Iris Engstrand. also remarked on the corporal punishment of repeat escapees. ” Despite the threat of corporal punishments, thousands of California Indians fled and refused to return voluntarily. 33 34 California Indians before 1846 Punishments for recaptured escapees were sometimes lethal. One early nineteenth- century Russian American Company hunter described Spaniards torturing recaptured Indians at what seems to have been Mission San Fernando, northwest of Los Angeles: They were all bound with rawhide ropes and some were bleeding from wounds and some children were tied to their mothers.
Yet most California Indians depended on carefully managing, harvesting, and processing nature’s bounty. Almost everywhere, they modified and maintained their environments in order to maximize hunting and gathering yields. Ethnoecologist M. 3 Game provided vital components of many precontact California Indian diets and material cultures. Instead of domesticating animals, California Indians frequently modified their environments to increase antelope, bear, bird, deer, elk, rabbit, and other game populations.
44 As for many indigenous peoples, from the Arctic to Patagonia, such “virgin soil epidemics” devastated populations and left survivors in shattered worlds. Luiseño Indian scholar Pablo Tac of Mission San Luis Rey may have been describing the 1833 epidemic when he later wrote: “In Quechla not long ago there were 5,000 souls, with all their neighboring lands. ” What Tac did not emphasize—perhaps because he was writing in Rome as he studied for the priesthood—was that the loss of 40 percent of his people was a result of contact with non-Indians and that the epidemic likely smashed his world by depriving him of friends, relatives, and much of his community’s social fabric.
An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley