Essay on The Disappearance of Native Americans in California

1646 Words 7 Pages
“To discover, understand, and encounter the cultures and intricate natures of the California Indian people, it is necessary to search the past” –Nancy Wahl. Tracing back in California history, Spanish explorers, commanded by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, found the tip of what is now Baja California in the year 1533 and named it "California" after a mythical island in a popular Spanish novel. It is evident that from the time Spanish monarchs set foot in California, the world as Native Americans knew it was never the same again. The late 1700s initiated and marked the colonization of Spaniards in the “Golden State” which in turn provoked the massive persecution and extermination of Native American population as well as the disappearance of Native …show more content…
“Scientific study of demographic trends during this period indicates the Indians of the Americas did not possess any natural immunity to introduced European diseases” (Castillo, www.nahc.ca.gov/califindian). At the time the Spanish entered Alta California, there were more than 300,000 native people living in the state, in more than 200 tribes. However, since California aboriginals were not invulnerable to Spaniards maladies, “by 1860, the state's native population had been reduced to 30,000, decimated by disease, poverty, assimilation, and other historical factors” (Paddison, www.calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu). What followed from this calamitous decrease was the disruption of the Indians’ life, families, communities, and sustainability which then weakened native resistance to other intrusions. "Suddenly these natives, who were accustomed to their own independent society, found themselves herded together, fed strange food, deprived of their religion, restrained from their own specific sexual customs, and then treated roughly by padre or soldier when they deviated from the Church's prescribed norm. (Eargle 1986)” (Wahl, www.historichwy49.com/wethe). They were forced to conform to the conquerors’ beliefs and were forbidden to follow their own knowledge and truths.
The Gold Rush era, with California under control of the United States after 1846, turned out to be

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