On this Indigenous People’s Day, yours truly uplifts the name of the Lucayan people of the Bahamas, as well as the California Indians, whose stories remain invisibilized by still-dominant narratives of the “Gold Rush.”
Calling massacres of scores of California Indian tribes by self-organized white militia groups “expeditions,” the state legislature figured that the U.S. federal government would eventually pay for rifles, food, wages and other expenses for the men of these deadly campaigns, going as far as to print bonds with George Washington’s portrait on them before officials in Washington D.C. even approved of the operations. Nevertheless, they figured right.
According to Indian-American historian Benjamin Madley: “On May 3, 1852–less than fifteen months after raising $500,000 for ranger militia expeditions against Indians–legislators passed a new $600,000 bond ‘for the payment of the expenses of the Mariposa, Second El Dorado, Utah, Los Angeles, Clear Lake, Klamath, and Trinity, and Monterey Expeditions against the Indians.‘” Madley adds, “The bond issue lured may Californians into financially supporting the [state] killing machine.”
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