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tv   An American Genocide  CSPAN  August 12, 2017 10:42pm-11:03pm EDT

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gotten through them. we can get through some big things. please -- these challenges we have today i don't think are as serious as those so if we come together and work in good faith we can get through it. i think with conservative principles are leading the way. >> host: thank you. >> the book is called "an american genocide" the united states and the california indian catastrophe: 1846-1873. the author ucla professor of
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history benjamin madley. professor madley in your book you write between 1846 and 1870 california is native american population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. how did that occur? >> guest: there are many things we understand already about this story. we know disease, exposure, starvation, those were all major factors not only in the population decline but in the suppression of the demographic rebound through we didn't know was how much detail and clarity before this book with all of the other factors and how they played in. systematic regimes, kidnapping, hundreds of homicides and upward 370 separate massacres carried out by vigilantes, volunteer state militiamen and elements of united states army all of which
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come together to provide very convincing, if he will come argument that what took place in california between 1846 in 1873 was in fact a case of genocide according to the 1948 genocide convention. >> host: y. 1846? >> guest: 1846 is the year they took california from mexico was part of the mexican-american war. it's also the year in which the very first major massacre of the californian indian people in this case and 1846 took place at the hands of elements of united states army under john c. fremont. a massacre but by all accounts peaceable california man people who were gathered on the banks of the sacramento river but attacked preemptively killing hundreds of individuals. >> host: but was their reasoning for this preemptive
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attack? >> guest: they had been told by some colonists in the sacramento river ballot that this group of california indian people might pose a threat so they attempted through what i call in the book pedagogic killing to teach a lesson to other california indians never to resist white people. kit carson and john c. fremont and their band of troopers killed as many as 800 california indian people in a single morning. in some ways to set the stage for what would become an american genocide. >> host: professor madley is 1846 is only two years before the 1849 gold rush. the school plays -- play a role? >> guest: if we look at the cover of the book the editors insisted their vehicle leaf on it to not so subtly hints at the crucial role the gold plate. before the gold rush began there were only 13 or 14,000 non-indian people living in
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california but between 1846 and 1870 that population surged to hundreds of thousands, almost 400,000 people so that massive demographic switch suddenly made it possible for newcomers to entirely change their relationship to the california indians were before the gold rush californian indian people were central to the mexican economy serving as ranch hands, farmworkers, making wine rustling cattle. once the surge of why people came from europe and the eastern united states they were no longer so crucial to the economy and many of the newcomers saw that and their search for the rapid acquisition of that shiny gold stuff. the massacres accelerated particularly against the california indian communities who are engaging gold-mining.
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>> host: from your book during the night -- 1889 immigrants often heavily armed experience organizations and fear and hatred towards indians arrived in california. guess that they often came organized. they had sometimes corporations that they also had military organizations in the literature that they were reading, the print radio was telling them it was very dangerous to cross the vast interior of the united states and they were in great danger. they all the canon all the way across united states from west virginia to california and they couldn't find any reason to use it and i ended up being able to sell it for a single dollar in sacramento because nobody saw the california indians is a substantial threat. many californians said they are part of the economy. they're working in the mining industries but because they came so heavily armed it made it easy
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for them to kill california indians but the way it works with these massacres were done at a distance a long-range weapons like rifles were used that had a much longer range than nick california indians bow and arrows that they had in that allowed them to kill people without putting themselves in harm's way. >> host: why did you focus on california? >> guest: i am from california. i grew up in indian country. my father was a school psychologist so i knew a lot of shasta people and then we moved here to los angeles and suddenly it was wearing an indian on my letterman's jacket that i was wondering where are all of the indian people? what was apparent to me where we are right now the most popular indian city in the western united states so i began to wonder where everybody went in i began to study the history and the further i went into it the
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more terrified i became at what i was seeing. it was the state of qalat or and yet, our very first democratically-elected governor in california under the u.s. rule declared and i quote a war of extermination will be wait until the indian race becomes extinct and at first i thought it was some kind of madman and then i see right away the state legislature put the power of the purse behind his words racing money originally to the town of half a million dollars and later they raised over $1.9 million to send out 24 state militia campaigns against the california indians which killed large numbers of people. which inspired a larger number of vigilante killings. as i got further into the story relies the u.s. army were donating the weapons and ammunition to the militia. the federal government later reimburses the state of
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california over $900,000 to pay the militia and then the united states army is also involved in actually killed more people than the californian militiamen killed. total the numbers are quite staggering. we know there's this great population decline but this book documents in almost 200 pages of appendices all of the killings. what we have learned at an absolute minimum these vigilante militiamen and united states army soldiers killed 9400 california indian people and perhaps as many as 16,000 and probably thousands of others whose deaths were not recorded in the ledgers and journals and newspapers and official reports of the day that i combed over for years in order to bring this material together. they must have seemed macabre or like an adequate and fetish but what i wanted to do here was
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present in some way a kind of memorial to all of the fallen california indian people who were the victim of this state-sponsored mass murder. there was a day when i was doing my research. i pumped literally into marvel flynn. all of the names that have fallen out of wars that have happened. it was an ah-hah moment. we need something i'd does for the california indian people. we may not get the memorial designed by some unlike mylan but we do have these appendices and if you think about your own experience of loss and a rupture in pain when you've lost a loved one in your life and you look at these numbers and you think about the magnitude of what this means for california indian communities it's not just the political leaders who were lost
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at some others, the fathers and the aunts and uncles and grandparents the people who knew how to make a bow, the people who knew how to leave a beautiful basket with the traditional designs of that community and yet after all of that, the story of unimaginable horror and the state's startling involvement in navigating in creating these programs you have this dark cloud of genocide in california but at the same time you have this unbelievable story of this survival. today there are 150,000 california indian people. 109 are federally rep denies this drives up and down the state to another 78 california communities who are not recognized by the federal government so all of these people are the descendents of folks who somehow figured out how to survive against impossible odds, how to resist
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and live and save themselves as children in a world that wanted to destroy them with federal soldiers looking for them militiamen searching for them, bounty hunters who were paid by the human skull or the human head. they somehow evaded all of these forces and survived. while it's a very dark story in many ways it's also a story of the triumph of the human will, the triumph of our human instinct for survival against these odds that seemed impossible. >> host: you use the term indian and not a good american. >> guest: yes, well in the academic world we often talk about native americans or american indians but i grew up in what is called indian country and most of the indian people i know are on ranches and reservations.
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we know this is based on columbus's great mistake. that it reached the east indies were in fact he only reached the caribbean basin that this term now has a kind of political and cultural resonance that is very important so the single periodical that circulates around indian country is called indian country today. that is the national journal or the national periodical of american indian people throughout this country but it is important to have knowledge that it is a mistake. we think of indian country and i'm glad you asked this it's important to remember that we are in indian country right now. anywhere you go in california you will be in someone's ancient homeland the lancet the indian people inhabited for thousands of years. that's true wherever you go. where pico in this hemisphere
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from the straits of magellan to the shores of the arctic ocean you are in indian country and one of things that happened because of this great loss of life was the array sure of indian people in the public conscience. not only have all the indian names for the landforms in the rivers and the lakes and the mlats been erased but they written over often with the very names of the people who did the killings so we have carson peak and numerous places named after john c. fremont. two men who we alluded to earlier who were direct genocide perpetrators. we also have many schools and institutions named after leaders and high political places who played roles in this genocidal process. for example hastings law school in san francisco, the state's oldest law school is named after
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the first supreme court chief justice, a man who ruled in a case that release date and two others had arrested for mass murder in the navajo valley and also a man who personally tank rolled the death squad that later became the rangers one of the callow. state militia unit that was responsible for killing hundreds of indian people, over 280 by their own official report, perhaps 400 or more according to journalists. so the very history of the genocide is woven into our states placement and the way we see fit cartography of california represents not in terms of letting people know here and massacre happened, here at great enslavement of california indian people happened, here on this reservation hundreds of people starve to death but rather thin
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the celebration of the very people who planned, paid for and carried out the killings. this is one of the things i hope this book might help change and i should say that on wednesday i had the opportunity to speak with the governor the state of callow or near present this book in the capital to him and to his cabinet and to an assembly of californian indian leaders. he is going to acknowledge that this was what he called an actual genocide. it's a rare moment for and historian to actually have some impact on public discourse and what i hope will ultimately come out of this is a wired dialogue dialogue -- wider dialogue about how we teach our youth and this history becomes part of the educational standards for what young people in california learn. right now it's relegated california indian history to the fourth grade and most of us coming up if made sugar cube
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missions. that's the only time where we talked about california history. my hope as an historian and activist historian is to put california indians not only into the educational standard put into our public discourse and perhaps we can have monuments that commemorate these massacres that commemorate that tell the truth about what happened and once we have a more comprehensive understanding of this mass violence systematic state-sponsored mass violence that took place in california then we can begin the healing process that might involve not only memorials but state-mandated days of remembrance and a real discussion about what the state of california and worked the government is the united states owes to the california people in light of his criminal past.
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>> host: what is an activist historian? >> guest: i see myself as an activist historian paradigm thinking about the documents i'm uncovering and the way that i tell the narrative echoes into our written experience and the ways in which uncovering hidden past can change public policy, public discourse in a way that we understand the past in order to shape our future. >> host: you spoke of the first governor of california and your book begins in 1846. california came into the gain in 1850. ..
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>> what was the recognition? >> so this book just won the los angeles times 2017 book award for history. which is a very exciting accolade for book that uncovers a dark and very is uncomfortable path to receive. >> why did you send it in 1873. >> because that's when the large etion campaign against california indians concluded. the book we understand the 172, 1873 mo dock war in which mo dock people hold off combine force rs the united states army, california state militia and oregon state malaysia a handful of them but when they finally surrender the process is still not over. united states army decapitates
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before shipping head to the war college in washington, d.c. to the medical museum there. so the process come it a conclusion in materials of that being the last major campaign against california indians but it doesn't moon genocide absolutely stops there. >> and madly associate professor at ucla and author of this book, and american genocide, the u.s. and the california indian catastrophe 1846 to 1873. thanks for joining us on booktv. >> thanks very much. >> next on booktv robert o'neal the formally navy s.e.a.l. credited with a killing of osama bin laden talks about his military career and some of the 400 missions he participated in. this program contains language that some may find offensive. >> it is my pleasure to welcome

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