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17 - ‘A War of Extermination’

The California Indian Genocide, 1846–1873

from Part III - Nineteenth-Century Frontier Genocides

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2023

Ned Blackhawk
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
Ben Kiernan
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
Benjamin Madley
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
Rebe Taylor
Affiliation:
University of Tasmania
Ben Kiernan
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

On 18 June 2019, California’s Gavin Newsom became the first governor in United States history to apologise publicly for a genocide committed in their state. Shaded by a grove of trees at the site of West Sacramento’s future California Indian Heritage Center, Newsom stood in a circle with tribal leaders. After recounting evidence of state-sponsored mass murder, Governor Newsom insisted: ‘It’s called a genocide. That’s what it was: a genocide, no other way to describe it. And, that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.’ Finally, the governor of the most populous and prosperous state in the wealthiest nation in the world publicly apologised: ‘I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.’1 Genocide was a formative event in the making of the state. Yet relatively few people, even in California, know this history.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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