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California Native American History. Origins- Native Point of View. Tribal Creation Stories We have been here since time immemorial The first people on this land were the animal people Our people were created from the earth All stories give us a connection to the land we are from.

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origins native point of view
Origins- Native Point of View
  • Tribal Creation Stories
    • We have been here since time immemorial
    • The first people on this land were the animal people
    • Our people were created from the earth
    • All stories give us a connection to the land we are from
origins anthro point of view
Origins- Anthro Point of View
  • Anthropological View
    • People came across the Bering Land Bridge and settled across the Americas
    • People have only settled here for the past 15,000 yrs
    • Creation stories are myths and legend
pre european contact
Pre European Contact
  • Population up to 1,000,000 people
  • Over 500 bands/tribes
  • People occupied every corner of the state
  • Cultures and languages as different as English and Chinese
  • 21 Catholic Missions from San Diego to Sonoma
  • Constructed with the forced labor of California Indians
  • Were unable to practice their traditions and ceremonies.
  • Average lifespan of an Indian taken to a mission was less than 10 years.
  • By the late 1820’s over 100,000 Indians died as a direct result of the missions.
gold rush
Gold Rush
  • Gold “discovered” at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma – 1848
  • California’s non-Indian population grew by over 100,000 by 1850.
  • Settlers began stealing women and children for laborers.
1849- Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
  • 1850- California admitted as a State
  • 1850- Act for the Government and Protection of Indians
  • 1850- 1852: 18 Treaties reserving 8,619,000 acres as Indian land (unratified)
  • State funded militias and bounties against Indians
  • Disease
reservations and rancherias
Reservations may not be in a tribe’s aboriginal territory.

Southern CA tribes receive Reservations in late 1800’s.

Not all tribes received Reservations

Dispossession of tribal lands

Rancherias were created for “homeless” tribes

Not all landless tribes received Rancherias

Tribes that did not receive land may not be recognized by the federal government as a “Tribe”

Reservations and Rancherias
dawes act 1887
Dawes Act- 1887
  • Objective was to assimilate tribes
  • Allotted tribal members with individual parcels of reservation land
  • Remaining parcels were sold to non-Indians
  • Resulted in the loss of thousands of acres of reservation land
  • Eroded traditional cultural values and life ways
  • Rancheria Termination Act of 1958 terminated 39 Rancherias
  • Government effort to assimilate Indians
  • Much of the lands were sold
  • 26 Rancherias have been restored since the early 1980s (not an easy battle).
contemporary california indians
Contemporary California Indians
  • Tribes are proud of their cultural and ethnic identity
  • Tribes are protecting their cultural places
  • Tribes still have their ceremonies, their songs, and their traditions
  • Tribes are re-telling history
american indian religious freedom act of 1978
American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978
  • After over 300 years of religious persecution tribes are able to practice their traditional religions without fear.
  • U.S. federal laws interfered with the traditional religious practices of many American Indians
  • The purpose is to preserve and protect Native American religions
tribal government 1934
Passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA)

Many contemporary tribes adopted IRA Constitutions

Worked to reduce the privatization of tribes’ common holdings

Eroded many forms of traditional tribal governance

Some tribes that were not previously recognized organized under the IRA

Tribal Government- 1934
today s tribes
109 Federally Recognized and about 50 Unrecognized or Unacknowledged tribes

Reservations and Rancherias may not be in a Tribe’s ancestral territory.

Business Enterprises

Government entities

Cultural entities

Today’s Tribes
tribal council
Tribal Council
  • Sovereign government (Federally recognized tribes)
  • Jurisdiction over reservation land
  • Elected officials
  • May follow more traditional forms of government, ie: hereditary leadership, or specific customs, rules, and laws
  • Tribal Council members may have fulltime jobs