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How should California reconcile its genocidal past?

By Edward S. Curtis, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A Pomo man paddles a canoe on Clear Lake, 1924.

California’s history is marked by horrific and systemic violence against Native Americans. On this edition of Your Call, we’ll speak with Bay Area Native Corrina Gould and historian Benjamin Madley about the genocide of California Indians and how the state should acknowledge it.

In his book American Genocide, Madley details the murders and institutionalized killings of Native communities in California in the latter half of the 19th century. Vigilantes, military members, and others drove the Native population in California down from around 150,000 to about 30,000 between 1846 and 1870. How should California recognize the war of extermination waged against its Native communities?



Benjamin Madley, historian of Native America, the United States, and colonialism, and author of American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873

Corrina Gould, co-founder of Indian People Organizing for Change and the Sogorea Te Land Trust

Web Resources:

UCLA Newsroom: Revealing the history of genocide against California’s Native Americans

LA Times: It's time to acknowledge the genocide of California's Indians

NY Times: ‘An American Genocide,’ by Benjamin Madley

KALW: Native Americans ask East Bay residents to pay 'tax' on land

Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.