Indigenous Groups Seek Justice for California Gold Rush Massacre

12/22/2021

During the 19th-century Gold Rush era, state-sanctioned groups of settlers massacred thousands of Indigenous people in northern California, in what both historians and Indigenous descendants of the victim have labeled a genocide. Now, Indigenous people are calling for greater accountability from the state and federal governments. 

A descendant of an Indigenous group that was hunted down in California said, "These were not battles, they were massacres. We didn't have weapons to fight back. Who is accountable? The whole state of Calidornia? The federal government who actually reimbursed the state of California for their payments to these murderers?" 

Hutt said the state should include the true history in school curricula to make young people aware of the region's dark past. California's Department of Education did not immediately respond to an inquiry on the matter. The federal government should also be held accountable for its role in funding the massacres. "We would like the bones of our ancestors. I would hope and dream that maybe we would get some kind of settlement like [Indigenous people in] Nunavut, in Canada," she said referring to a land-claims agreement that allowed Inuit people to independently govern their territory. 

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