Benjamin Madley – AN AMERICAN GENOCIDE: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe 1846-1873

Benjamin Madley is an historian of Native America, the United States, and genocide in world history. Born in Redding, California, Professor Madley spent much of his childhood in Karuk Country near the Oregon border, where he became interested in the relationship between colonizers and indigenous peoples. He writes about American Indians, as well as colonial genocides in Africa, Australia, and Europe, often applying a transnational and comparative approach. He is a professor of history at the University of CA at Los Angeles.  An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 is his first book.  It is published by Yale University Press.  Professor Benjamin Madley, We welcome you to Forthright Radio.

fire-drill-koskimo.jpgThe place we now call CA, was unknown to non-Indians until March 1543, when Spaniards first explored the coast, but it wasn’t until 226 years later, in 1769, that Spain sent soldiers and Franciscan missionaries north from Mexico to colonize it, to preempt British, Dutch and Russian expansion, and to protect northern Mexico’s silver mines.  At that time, there were about 310,000 native people living there, which seems small compared to California’s current population of almost 40 million, but he writes that it was actually the densest native population north of Mexico in North America. We began by discussing this pre-European CA population, and how they lived on the land.

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The Mendocino Indian Reservation was a former Indian reservation in Mendocino County, of the early ones to be established (Spring, 1856) in California by the Federal Government for the resettlement of California Indians, near modern day Noyo, which was the home of the Pomo Tribe. Its area was 25,000 acres (100km²), but Yuki, Yokiah, Wappo, Salan Pomo, Kianamaras, Whilkut and others were forced off their ancestral lands and removed there.tmp6C50.jpgThe Mendocino Indian Reservation was discontinued in March 1866 and the land opened for settlement 3 years later.

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