California Indian History

California Indian History Narrative 1769-1980
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The ancestors of the Hokan or possibly the Yukians may have been the first inhabitants of California. The Encinitas Culture appeared 5500 BC in the San Diego area. The Campbell Culture appeared around Santa Barbara 3000 BC.  The Hotchkiss culture in Central California began about 500BC. The Takic Uto-Aztecans arrived in their aboriginal southern California territories and the Penutians arrived in the central valley in the century before the time of Christ. The Athapaskans were the last to arrive, sometime around AD 900.

     California was the most densely populated of the United States at the time of European arrival with a population of approximately 150,000 (1.5 persons per square mile). This was in spite of the fact that all of the California tribes were hunter/gatherers except for the farmers along the Colorado River. The dense population was the product of the relatively peaceful nature of the California tribes and the bountiful supply of fish, game, and edible vegetation, and natural boundaries created by the relatively irregular terrain.
     About 135,000 native Californians died in the 100 year holocaust after the arrival of the Europeans. Spanish missions, Mexican feudal land barons, and especially the settlers and miners of the gold rush brought the genocide and disease. 
     A large number of unrecognized Native Americans live in California today. There is a large urban Indian population in California, particularly Los Angeles, of people who have migrated from other areas of the United States.
     Today, there are 107 reservations and rancherias in California and a additional 40 groups who have applied for federal recognition. 
1539 Francisco de Ulloa explored coast
1540 Yuma visited by Hernando de Alarcón
1542 Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo discovered San Diego harbor
1577 Sir Francis Drake explored coast, claimed California for Britain
1602 Sebastian Viscaino arrived at Monterey
1701 Colorado River tribes visited by Father Kino
1769 Portola overland expedition into southern territory, San Francisco Bay discovered by Sgt. Jose de Ortega, San Diego mission and presidio established
1770 Carmel mission established
1771 San Gabriel mission founded
1772 Mission San Luis Obispo established
1774 Juan Bautista de Anza overland expedition into southern territory
1776 San Francisco mission and presidio established; Diegueños attacked San Diego mission, killed several; San Juan Capistrano mission established
1781 Yumas closed land route to Whites, killed 34 Spaniards including Garcés
1782 Missions San Buenaventura established
1785 Gabrielino revolt under medicine woman Toypurina
1786 Mission Santa Barbara established
1791 Santa Cruz mission established
1793 Capt. Vancouver visited Trinidad Bay, may have caused cholera epidemic
1797 Missions San Jose, San Juan Bautista, and San Fernando established
1798 Mission San Luis Rey established
1800 Costanoan uprising at San Jose mission
1802 Pneumonia and diphtheria epidemics in missions
1806 Measles epidemic in missions
1809 Russians began exploitation of Pomo
1811 Serrano lead revolt against missions
1819 27 Miwok killed by Sanchez
1821 Most of tribes south of Sacramento River indentured to feudal Mexican barons
1824 Feeble La Purisma revolt by Chumash; Mojave attacked Jedediah Smith expedition killing several
1826 40 Miwok killed by Sanchez
1827 North penetrated by Hudson Bay Company traders
1828 Jedediah Smith entered central state
1833 Northern state malaria epidemic, 21 Pomos massacred by Father Mercado
1834 200 Wappo killed by Vallejo
1838 Northwest smallpox epidemic killed 3,000
1839 200 Miwok massacred by Amador and Mesa, John Sutter established New Helvetia
1840 Smallpox epidemic in southern territory killed 2,400
1841 Pomos drove Russians out of their territory
1845 Luiseño attacked by Cahuilla recruited by Mexico for war with U.S., up to 100 killed
1846 Bear Flag Revolt by American settlers, U. S. troops occupied state
1848  Central state pandemic; gold discovered
1849 Gold rush, miners begin to encroach into Indian territories, violence ensued
1850 Cahuilla, Cocopa, and Yuma revolted over property tax imposition; group of Chilula massacred by Lassik; Miwok attacked miners under Chief Tenaya; Capt. Lyon massacred 135 Pomo; Shasta villages burned, occupants shot; measles and cholera epidemics in northwest
1851 Mariposa Indian War, huge numbers of Indians slaughtered in gold country; California statehood
1852 Karuk villages burned by Whites
1855 Most reservations established
1858 Ft. Gaston established in response to Hupa resistance to White influx, Mojave and Yuma conducted disastrous raid against Maricopa into Arizona
1859 Mojave defeated by Naval Lt. Beale
1861 120 Wailaki killed at Horse Canyon trying to steal horses
1862 Squatters massacred 45 at Round Valley
1863  Smallpox epidemic in south, 35 Kawaiisu massacred by Capt. McLaughlin; 32 Maidu died in forced march to Round Valley; soldiers massacred up to 40 Tubatulabl at Kernville
1865  Colorado River Reservation established; Yahi (Yanan Tribes) slaughtered by settlers
1867 Chemehuevi defeated by Mojave, fled to desert
1869 Hupas granted Hoopa Valley, White settlers exterminated large number at Round Valley; prophet Wodziwob of Walker Lake Northern Paiute created Ghost Dance, practiced by most northern California tribes within two years, transcontinental rail road completed
1870 Chief Kintpuash (Captain Jack) led militant Modoc group back to ancestral ands in California
1871 Chimariko tribe slaughtered by miners
1872 Modoc War, tribe retreated to lava beds for months, defeated, chief and 5 others hanged
1884 Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not automatically make Indians citizens of the United States
1893 Yuma forced into auctioning much of land
1911 Society of American Indians founded; Native American Church established
1921 Achomawi, Shasta smallpox epidemic killed 200
1923 John Collier organized the American Indian Defense Association
1924 Indian Citizenship Act, Indians given right to vote
1934 As part of New Deal, the Indian Reorganization Act was passed as a result of the efforts of John Collier
1953 House Concurrent Resolution 108, Termination Act
1965 Act of Congress declared use of peyote by Native American Church exempt from Federal drug enforcement
1969 Civil Rights Act gave Indians basic protection of any citizen
1969 American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Alcatraz Island
1970 Richard Nixon declared HCR 108 "morally and legally unacceptable" and called for its repeal
1978 25,000 acres restored to Yuma reversing 1893 action
1998 Proposition 5 ensured California Indians rights to have gaming enterprises on the reservations and rancherias; California AB 1953 established California Indian History Day as the last Friday in September

California Indian History

California's Native People - The Formative Period

The Indian Tribes of North America - California Extract