THE GOLD RUSH; MORE SUFFERING FOR THE INDIANS

The discovery of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada by Indian Agent Johann Sutter, ushered in one of the darkest episodes of dispossession widespread sexual assault and mass murder against the native people of California. Sutter negotiated a treaty with the chief of the Coloma Nisenan Tribe which would have given a three year lease to lands surrounding the gold discovery site.

INDIANS AND THE NEW MEXICAN REPUBLIC

I1823 the Spanish Flag was replaced by that of the Mexican Republic after Mexico rid itself of the French. Little immediate change in personal or Indian policy occurred. However, the independence government was decidedly anti-church and had no love for the Franciscan owned Missions. The growing body of Mexican leaders deeply resented the monopoly of Indian lands and the unpaid Indian labor enjoyed by the Franciscans.

While no land grants to the colonists had occurred under Spanish rule, some 25 grazing permits or concessions had been issued to Spanish and Mexican colonial citizens. This was the beginning of the dispossession of tribal lands by colonial authorities. The vast plantation like missions claimed about 1/6 of the present territory of the state. But legal title to these lands were assigned to the Spanish crown.

The missions were only suppose to last 10 years, after which the developed estates were to be distributed to surviving mission Indians. It was assumed that the Indians would evolve into hardworking, tax paying citizens of Mexico. But the Missionaries declared to the state that they would never give up there Missions, there slaves nor there land and crops. Mexico City was becoming increasingly upset with the situation and eventually would take action against the Missionaries.

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