Digger: The Tragic Fate of the California Indians from the Missions to the Gold Rush
Written by Jerry Stanley
From the award-winning author of Children of the Dustbowl comes a sobering look at two of the most frequently romanticized events in American history. For the native peoples of California, the period from 1769, when the first Spanish Mission was founded, to the 1850s, when the Gold Rush was at its height, was one of terrible violence and destruction. First, Spanish priests and soldiers sought to convert the Indians to Christianity and a "civilized" way of life. Yet for the Indians the story of the missions was one of hunger, disease, rebellion, and death. Then, during the Gold Rush, Indians were frequently kidnapped, murdered, and sold into slavery by white settlers. By the end of the nineteenth century, the surviving California Indians had been forced onto reservations and their way of life had been largely destroyed. With maps, a timeline, and glossaries on California's Indian tribes and mission history, Jerry Stanley tells the story of modern California from the poignant perspective of the Native American.