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tv   Lectures in History Ashley Riley Sousa on California Native Americans and...  CSPAN  October 14, 2017 8:00pm-9:17pm EDT

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>> on lectures in history, ashley riley sousa teaches a ands on native americans capitalism in early 19th century california. she focuses on local tribes commercial interactions with spanish missions and for traders. she also talks about the commodities these groups exchanged. her class is about one hour and 15 minutes. right, today's lecture will pull together the topics we have been exploring, spanish colonization of north america contributions of native american societies to the colonies, manifest destiny, the conquest of mexico.
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will examine them from a different perspective. about indian removal in the 19th century and how it was shaped by the expansion of american democracy and the cotton economy. indian nations like the cherokees were victimized by the united states government, the state of georgia, settlers, but the nation's willingness to adapt and to press all possible advantages illustrates how indians continued well beyond the colonial area to change to make colonialism work in their favor. mind, i want to revisit california today. i want to consider the ways californian indian societies continued this practice and helped to build california's , attract settlers, and
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transform the territory into a vital american state during the gold rush. hinged onformation the work of indian people. as you remember, catholic missionaries where the vanguard of spanish colonial settlement in california. franciscan missionaries envision the northern frontier in which indians would be converted into spanish subjects and willing to defend spain's claim to north america. in their approach, this meant economic conversion. on one hand, doing the lords work meant getting the indians to do spanish work, farming, traits, domestic service. the lords work required money, which was scarce, but sometimes that money could be made in ways that aligned with the spiritual goals of the mission. the backbone of california's economy before the gold rush,
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indian cowboys to the herd with the most important segment of the workforce. dana was anhenry american sailor aboard the pilgrim. he observed that mission santa clara and san jose did in his words "a greater business in hides than any in california, and capable of caring 1000 hides apiece are sent down to the vessel to bring away goods in return." he spent much of his two years in california. he had a healthy appreciation for the economic significance of indian labor at the mission. dana in this portrait bears more than a passing resemblance to
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heavy metal legend glenn danzig -- separated at birth? he was one of many contenders for california hides. a company began trading out of san francisco bay, all produced by indians. these commodities were exchanged for british and american manufactured goods. as you remember from our discussion of the french colonies, it was some major trade item. russian-american established fort ross on the northern coast heat.12 two produce w they failed to produce a month and the company became a buyer heatalifornia mission w as well. the pilgrim, the ship, was a
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company ship. hide trade was the most important official economic activity in california, but unofficially the trade in stolen cattle, horses, and meals became another source of trade. beginning in 1830, new mexico and trading parties began to visit california to purchase mules. historians associate the santa fe trail with the connection , newen missouri, santa fe mexico, but the trail extended into california, ending in los angeles. they carry trade goods and ranged throughout the interior insert the best and least expensive livestock obtained through trade with indians.
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trading a new mexican party arrived admission san gabriel with wall and blankets. an american for trapper reported that the parties returned to santa fe later that year with many mules in very fine form. the cost "brought in barter for blank and's, caused a sensation in new mexico." mules purchased with blank ends within resold in santa fe at trade fairs between six dollars and $10 apiece cash. you can see turning blankets into cash would have been immensely valuable. 1832, santag year, fe traders returned to california and came back to santa fe with 600 mules and 100 horses, so that was an opportunity to could pass up. some animals were purchased
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through legitimate trade, meaning purchase from the actual owners of the animals. much of the stock that new mexican traders bought off indians was stolen. february 1833, new mexican traders had made off with 108 mules stolen by indians from mission san miguel. a priest at san gabriel complained that "the introduction of articles and commerce into this territory by natives of new mexico has caused extensive robberies, both open and concealed. indiansl, trade, and is to steal." they required new mexican traders to submit to inspections before leaving california, the traders tried to elude the authorities. when caught, the extent of their theft was outstanding. rate, authorities confiscated 200 stolen animals.
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in another raid, 430 stolen animals. pretty big herds of hot livestock. in northern california, the situation was no letter. the trade was so lucrative that the british for trade company hudson bay company bought into the action with independent american fur trappers. they knew the stock was stolen. in april 18 33, the governor california complained "the british and americans on the columbia river, referring to the hudson bay company, makes frequent incursions into the country on the pretext of trapping beaver and other quadrupeds. they identify themselves with the wild natives, following the same life, live in a wandering fashion and become familiar and gain their confidence. from this has, one positive evil, namely the influence, the
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natives have dedicated themselves to the stealing of horses. " the natives in question were indian people from the san joaquin valley of california, speakers of a language called ,okut, much like the chumashan politically independent, but , andrally related groups each group saw themselves as separate and distinct, but had a languages. mix of wild indians, and indians who had received back to the missions, asthe mystic aided indians opposed to wild indians who had never had the benefit of the mission. on stock handling skills
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they had learned in the mission, wrestlers could make off with large herds of mission stock and find shelter in indian villages. this is an image of mission san gabriel by los angeles. it is washed out because of the noticeg, but you could some indian men in the painting that are trest elegantly, especially by contrast with the women in the image who are dressed in spanish peasant garb. the indian men are cowboys and dressed really nicely. the value you missionaries placed on the work these cowboys did. they were allowed to ride horses, which was generally forbidden to indians, and they dressed pretty nice. they were not dressed in the garb of peasants, which is what
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the priests hope the indian converts would be. a common technique used in livestock was for raters were thieves to approach the mission in the middle of the night and open the gates of the horse corral. they have a good sense of the lay of the land. they would wait patiently, sometimes for hours for the horses to wander out of the corral of their own will. once the herd had left the corral and wandered a half mile or so away, the wrestlers would drive the animals at full gallop until dawn, then find a secluded spot to hide out and rest the horses. once night fell again, continue to drive to the destination. the horses that tried to break from the herd, the wrestlers
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brought them back in line using a native technique. they would fire their arrows, but tied to sticks around the arrowhead so when they fired it would just stick them a little bit, enough to hurt, but not do any damage. one observer of the technique noted "the horse immediately takes his place again and it is seldom the indians are required to punish one unruly horse twice." wrestling often went hand-in-hand with running away. in june 1819, priest reported that one village in central california harbored 60 stolen horses from mission san juan batista as well as "numerous christian fugitives, friends and neighbors."
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this is a map that shows the locations of the missions. you have san gabriel down by los angeles. san joaquin is farther in northern california. the priests asked the governor of california for 12 soldiers to send to the field to attack the village and retrieve both the horses and fugitives that had run away. the governor granted his request. the priest reported back months later that the expedition had rescued 49 of the 60 horses, but in the priest words, not a soul was brought back to the mission." when one considers the skill and courage, it's not surprising the missioners met with limited success. image, and imaged someded in 1856 by surveyors involved in surveying the central valley of california
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for a potential railroad track. ultimately become the transcontinental railroad. plane betweenled the san joaquin and kings rivers, the interior of california. in 1856, one of the most notable area was thethe presence of these mounted indian stock wrestlers. reasons why i love this image is that it happens after the gold wretch, so after california becomes a gold mining becomes its major reason for existence, indian stock wrestling is still at large part of the central valley economy, the trade persists. the other thing i like is that in california there is a stereotype that californian indians were very docile, easily
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defeated, peaceful and non-combative. california indians don't have the same kind of public image as horseback, soon a in thee not as bad ass popular imagination as the plains indians. i love this image because that guy is pretty fierce. some feathers going he looks like he could do some damage to your horse herd or to well intolike that the gold rush era these mounted livestock wrestlers in the central valley were kind of bad, bad bad. stock wrestling also offered indians opportunities to thrive in the interior. lehto population
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explosion of horses. an english visitor estimated to see 3000 wild horses in today's travel in 1840. a minor on the eve of the gold rush claim that in the central central valley "contained a larger portion of wild horses and any other part of the world to the same extent. on the san joaquin river, bands 2000."0 to in addition to providing a lucrative source of trade provided a basis of subsistence for california indians living in the interior. they were on abundant food source. those wildt trading horses, but you can rely on them by eating them. one newspaper reported in 1847 that from the north to the source of the san juan keaton
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river in the south, indians had become in their words "so habituated to living on horse flesh, that it is the principal means of subsistence." acorns and salmon fishing have been the mainstay, and now by the 1840's, we see in the san joaquin valley and interior part of california that horsemeat becomes a new staple. rating went hand-in-hand with the first trade. the many complaints made by california authorities about the indicates company they were engaged in for trade within california and other economic act to the. it is not surprising that california missionaries put mission indians to work at this lucrative pursuit as well.
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you a senseto give of the extent of the central valley. this is the headwaters of the san joaquin river, the southernmost extent of the horse eating. this is the northernmost extent. the green central part of california is the great central valley of california where this livestock trading, horse eating, and for trading will be taking place. the sacramento san joaquin delta region was the finest trapping ground in california. the beaver population has not quite recovered from this era. the sacramento san joaquin delta is this triangle of land right there bracketed in by the san joaquin and sacrament rivers. -- sacramento rivers. it abounded with beaver at the
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otter,d a type of river to distinguish it from sea otters, which were the primary game of the russian-american huts and a fur trade -- hudson bay for trade. california sea otters are amazing. they have one million hairs per square inch, so you can imagine what kind of ferc could we get that could sell for a lot of money, the for of an animal that has one million hairs per square inch will be worth a lot, right? going after beaver and land otter is not the hot how economic activity of sea otters. these big for trading firms began to turn their attention to the not quite has awesome critters, the california beaver, as the author
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the people of the san joaquin sacramento delta ironically had no native technologies for fur trapping. you might have garnered from my comments about california the california has nice weather. in the sacramento san joaquin delta region, you're talking about a change in temperature from winter to summer of like 40 degrees maybe. in the 50'sg and and winter, and burning hot in the 90's in the summer, but in that narrow temperature variation you don't have the need for a lot of clothing, so california indians in all seasons largely went to the naked because you did not have to bundle up. no need to hunt beaver or catch an animal that has tons of hairs per square inch because
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your going to be naked because the weather is awesome in california, even better in southern california. 60's minimum in the wintertime. , so they have no native technologies for dealing with furbearing animals. sometimes they hunted beaver occasionally for food. evidently beaver tail is a delicacy from a mainly canada. turning for into clothing or anything. can they trap, which they buy the 1820's under the authority of the spanish mission , they do so for the full purpose of obtaining trade goods. it is their only reason for trapping. they would not have done it otherwise. spanish missionaries did not appreciate the new mexican traders efforts to induce indians to steal livestock i providing trade goods, but were
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not above paying trade goods to indians themselves in order to get indians to trap for them. aree new mexican traders ripping us off, scamming these indians by paying them in beads and cloth, and outrage upon the indians. here's some cloth and beads, you want to trap? they are not really walking the walk. the hudson bay company got in on this action. gates into california between 1828-1843. into california between 1828-1843. the chief upgrade leave a reported "beaver is the common .rticle of traffic on the coast although upwards of 1500 skins were collected from the natives and sold to ships at three dollars." trade with those new mexican
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traders, we will pay the indians in trinkets, and they will bring us back something we trade for cash, which in a remote frontier area would have in a boom to any traitor. he affirms that the source of the skins was a hearty of indian trappers and the delta expanding "our people while trapping at the junction of the rivers met several indians attached to the missions employed hunting beaver. collect a few skins each which they barter for beads and wearing apparel." sea captain sailed his ship up the sacramento river and noted that the indian trade in beaver skins for which mission san jose had emerged as a headquarters had been so successful with a little help from drought to leave the river and its tributaries devoid of beaver and otter. those that remained he described
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as subpar, quality. they had literally all been trapped out. this captain and countered indians below the american river on the sacramento below the american river, the missionaries had written passes that said these indians have our permission to do this trapping. they were given passes allowing them to leave mission san jose in the influence of the christian missionaries and spanish civilization to trade for first with so-called wild indians. think about from the spanish missionaries perspective, please go back and be with the wild indians. that is how viable for trapping would have been. indians, neighbors, friends, family members, folks they knew before they came into the missions, their crew, so when mission indians left with
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these passes, they went home to engage in this trade throughout the 1820's and 1830's. trappers from communities in the delta were good of their work. , and youcan trapper guys might recognize this name, he is kind of the king of them all, jedediah smith. of jedediahnfused springfield. by the hostile reception that his trapping party received from indians along the river in 1828. this suggests to me these indian people immediately identify the party as an economic threat and understood the economic competition their presence would have presented to the indian
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trapping effort. smith interpreted the indians were unwilling to accept his of a fear ofsult strangers. along one of the rivers, the indians were not so timid and scared of the white man that they were willing to let jedediah smith party trap the river without a fight. outright violence broke out between the indians and jedediah smith's party as soon as his party attempted to set traps in the river. and when they returned to their traps the next morning, they realize their traps had been taken by the indians. he reported "a good many had been taken by the indians, who show themselves in the opposite , so what coulder have been for the indian people along the river an unfortunate , it actuallyaching
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turned into a pretty good economic opportunity." they stole the traps and the beaver in them and frightened off the competition. that is just good business. a little threat to the competition. of course making off with expensive metal traps, which the native people of north america did not work iron or steel themselves, so making off with steel traps would have been a huge economic advantage. the following year alexander macleod, the chief brigade noted that along one river, indians told traps and horses from a party. so again, traps and also horses. we will steal their traps and sell their horses. fromported that deserters
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jedediah smith's party from the try to stick around and stay behind and do more trapping after there'd disastrous encounter and ended up getting killed by indians. the indians were like you will not coach in our territory. these are not timid people who don't understand the motivations of these for traders. hudson bay company southern brigade leader noted in 1843 ,hat indians along the river and these were the guys to be he noted those indians "aimed to steal the traps for the sake of the beaver in them." ewers this moment that dealing the beaver because the beaver are valuable. go figure. the vigorous defense of a trapping ground reflects the importance of indian trapping, which is notable given that
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indians entered into the mission system until 1834. running offstling, the competition, getting the traps and beavers for themselves , this happen before any formal affiliation with a mission. they don't even need to be directed by the missionaries to do these things. imagine anthey economic opportunity, they are seizing it and performing it independently. they were probably among the wild indians that mission to be whene sent out white settlers arrived in the central valley in the 1830's, they became another market for indian furs. probably the most famous 19th-century californian john , who was the proprietor , often traded goods
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in exchange for beaver, ottor, and other animals with furbearing skins. back, what isng that called, that fashion? the ascot. we need to bring back the ascot. a good look. he put himself in direct competition with the hudson bay company, with mission san jose, otherth a number of settlers in the central valley as a buyer of indian furs. of 1841, only two years after he founded his colony, sutter claims, and he is senatorial's flyer, claimed to be selling 3000 beaver pelts the year. even if it is only half of that, his trapping crew was some 20
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guys, right? the trapping season's fall and early winter, so you can imagine 20 guys doing that kind of damage over a limited number of months, he was doing a prison business. indian trappers for their part incorporated sutter into their own fur trade marketplace. they did not need to be told to go out and do this. here is one more guy we can sell these things too. along with the hudson bay company and mission san jose, sutter became one buyer among many buyers, and they shopped their first round to find the best prices on the most desirable trait goods, cloth, beads, which functioned as currency in the californian indian economy. village situated on the sacramento river in the northern part of the delta became headquarters of the indian fur trade, where indian middlemen
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took first from trappers, some of them technically john sutter's employees, and marketed then to whoever who could provide the best return. these guys are like we work for you. we will take your pay and sell our first to somebody else who will pay as better, so you get paid on both ends. is a great case study of how indians in california made test use of economic possibilities afforded by colonialism. for trappers were one segment of andindian workforce, several people worked at all it,s of tasks,, you name , you name it, and an indian was doing it.
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adobe was pretty common throughout california and northern new mexico, the southwest, all built by indians. a monumentplace was of indians toness engage in this economic activity. i don't want to overstate my case. as theree some indians were in the mission system who were less willing, who many observers described as being enslaved. were they actual property are being worked as if they were slaves? it is not clear. certainly not all indians affiliated with any aspect of the colonial california economy were doing this completely voluntarily, but what strikes me is how many were. especially among cowboys and .rappers this is prestige work. attended to be something that
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required coercion to get indian men to participate in. important trait good and trading with indians were the same as almost everywhere else in california, cloth, beads , especially wool and cotton axes,, but knives, officials, needle, thread, flour. we talk about some commodities having elastic demand and others having inelastic demand. everybody wants more clothing, right? in the case of the california indians, you want more beats because everybody wants more cash. were always the price the indians demanded for their participation in this economy.
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while these goods seemed in some ways because they are metal or manufactured cloth, or in the case of beads, glass, they seem like a novel innovation in the california interior, but indians use them in ways that are culturally relevant and familiar. they did not have to reinvent .he wheel take manufactured cloth, indian trappers took manufactured cloth in payment for all kinds of services, and took abundant amounts on credit from sutter. represented for californian indians many hours indianr saved for the crafts people would have to produce it by hand by splitting tree bark and grass stocks into fiber, spending the fiber into thread, then hand weaving that thread into finish fabric. when you think about that and it makes sense why people did not
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wear too many clothes, you would take that opportunity. other clothing was traditionally , some of which were spectacular. like most hunter-gather societies in the world, they relied overwhelmingly on gathered vegetable resources. women were the primary catheters for the societies and responsibility for sustaining and provisioning their community. think about the convenience represented by not having to make your own fabric, not having to weave your own blankets. manufactured cloth is an important timesaver, convenience product that would have had an immediate and noticeable effect on a person's weekly schedule. among one village on the american river, wild duck
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feathers were a source of clothing and blankets. one visitor observed that the women weaving wild duck feather blankets and described it this way, "the labor of making one of these blankets is immense. captain sutter presented me with one that he assumed occupied six females four months in the making." if you can get a machine made blanket of calico cloth, you are saving a lot of time. is going to say wool probably the warmer option, but whatever it may be, you are saving yourself a tremendous amount of time. pick about the time that is freed up rather economic activity, sleeping, doing anything. men also participated in cloth manufacturing, leaving feathers and rabbit skins into cloaks and blankets for ceremonies, cold
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so inr in california, communities, access to manufactured cloth enabled men to enjoy enhanced status and prestige and women to enjoy enhanced status and prestige deriving from the economic responsibility of clothing your family and clothing for community members. while reaffirming this is what makes me a man or makes me a woman, right? isder division of labor important in californian indian societies. the idea you were for filling your duty as a man or a woman was instantly tied into these economic activities in the so not only is there a real economic in a fit to it, there is also reaffirmation of your culture inherent in it. of course it makes you more
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economically important within your community, so not just being the guy that got paid in beads. they are valuable because they are currency and operate has cash and transactions between different indian societies, and also it is necessary to have a pay thes in order to bride price for marriage. you guys are familiar with ideas like dowry, taking your future wife out of her parents lesshold and there will be work happening in her parents ausehold, so you have to not for her, but reimburse her parents for losing the value of her labor. the only recent have children is to get free labor. mine still won't work unless they are threatened, but interior the reason to have children is for the free labor, so you have to have some beads on hand.
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if i'm losing my daughter's economic activity, i'm not losing month, but if i'm losing her productivity, i want something good for it. the best thing you can get his cap. everybody wants to get paid in cash. people andley indian californian indian people in general favored a certain type made from clamshell that could only be obtained along the northern californian coast. these disc shaped clamshell the fundamental unit of currency in the californian indian economy. in the mission era and extending well into the goal pressure era, european and american traders introduce manufacture glass beads imported from europe. you go from one color and you can only get it if you trade really well, then all of a sudden every white person is i
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will pay you in beads, which costs nothing to the white folks bringing the beads into the transaction, but for indians, it is like i will pay you in bags of hundred dollar bills, which in california is like money following from heaven, right? they were introduced initially in california by the hudson bay company, who conducted trade-off of ships in san francisco bay, and these beads become ubiquitous in californian indian communities, especially in the delta region long before they did any business with john sutter. so long before they literally lived alongside white people, they were seeking opportunities to get paid in these beads. white beads where the colors most often demanded by indian consumers.
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white functioned as currency and read as ceremonial adornment. the ability to earn beads through work, especially of an exotic material like alas, would have been a tremendous economic asset. unlike other indians you might trade with who will part with thoseads begrudgingly, that are laden with value reflects the effort into making them, but here you have these jerks, beads for everyone could you are like, fools, i will take them. so they can start demanding eyewall only have the red ones because whites did not understand the value of the beads they were trading for. whites imagine they were giving trinkets for viable things like beaver pelts, and the indians were like were giving away something we don't need an
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exchange for money from having, -- from heaven, right ?cces it elevates the status of indian men as marriage partners to have the connections to access these beads, not just for the value of potential but for the future beads their economic connections could provide. i have beads now and could have beads in the future as well. it will be a good provider, a rock star. wealth,ads symbolize but also a man's connection to economic opportunity linked to market forces way beyond california. this is especially critical for indian communities from the 1830's forward because in 1833 a
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malaria that the mix work through california. as beingcalifornia very tried because of the droughts, and it can be very the damming ofto the rivers in california and the introduction of livestock to california, california had more of a problem being too wet than to dry. not because it had a lot of precipitation, but because the water table was so high. in a low-lying valley, the water is so close to the surfaced that a little bit of rain can turn any valley into a swamp, so malaria was endemic in california well into the 20th century. malaria sweeps through the central valley in 1833, and by killed some 75%
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of the indian population of the central valley in 1833, so i you live in a society in which now there are 75% fewer marriage partners. how much harder will you have to pool offor a limited marriage partners? when white settlers begin moving into the central probably in large numbers in the 1840's, indian men faced an extra third and in trying to find marriage partners because white settlers are very attractive marriage partners for indian women. are always going to have the advantage in a society in which a marriage partner is chosen in part based on his ability to provide. these white settlers who are the source of beads are way preferable to the indian guy who can earn the beads, so indian
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women find settler men attractive marriage partners. and thisve a theory, is not borne out by anthropology, but california ,ndian societies are generally when they get married, they live with the husband's family. you are a woman and you get to get married to the sky and live with his mother-in-law until the end of time, but here are these white guys who showed up in california who don't have mothers. that is my theory. i also torture live with my mother-in-law. i love you, laura. i also live with my mother-in-law. i love you, laura. situation,economic you want to have a man who is a good provider, and a woman is a good provider, too. women are doing mostly economic work in any given indian
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community. women can call the shots and they can have their pick of height settlers or indian then. affluent, powerful men have the advantage in the marriage market, and this is evident in the relationship where settler men took indian wives. in addition to the challenges posed by indian white , the malaria epidemic of the early 1830's, and unrelated, the introduction of the new real and other diseases into the indian population through the mission system, height and the competition among men for marriage partners in the wake of this devastating demographic collapse. add to that the traditional practice of polygyny, in which powerful wealthy indian men would take multiple wives. you can see people are going to be at each other's throats
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trying to get wife. the need for indian men to distinguish themselves on the economic length field is more urgent than ever, so trade becomes an important survival strategy. our more children going to be born in your community? is your community going to go on? in 1840 six, informal census of the indian population in the indian valley showed communities most closely associated with the andny, that source of beads other economic advantages, had in the words of the census taker "an extraordinary abundance of ."men suggesting that women married into communities that had better access to economic opportunity. the continuing survival of indian communities the on the mission era was in no small part due to indian skillful engagement with larger markets
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as workers in a growing and changing profit-driven economic system. possibly the best example i sa one indian village on the sacramento river. a large portion of people had edition into mission san jose in 1834. they are briefly there. the village remains because of this continually and habited. some indians went into mission san jose, but mission san jose was not around long enough to bring everyone into its orbit. not all the indians were brought into the mission, right? there were a enough indians left behind to still function as a community, unlike in many other cases where a community would break up. some people would break off and join their relatives and other
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communities. when mission san jose shut its doors in 1836 and the people filtered back into the interior of california, they founded the village still there, so this is a big deal. their chief did not take on a spanish name. you will remember from reading about the spanish missions in california, all of these indian people who were baptized at the missions were given spanish names, so the fact that he is still going by an indian name into the 1840's shows you it still had a functioning community and political system that function during the mission era. either he did not go into the mission or christianity left no impression on this man whatsoever, but still holding down the fort. this indicates a couple of things about the history that
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are important. they don't engage with the colonial economy out of desperation. this is still a place. it still has a chief. being forced into this economic situation. the village, political structure are still in tact. when the colony was established and when they engage with sutter and go to work to trade, they do so as free agents. not assition themselves employees, not as servants to sutter, but has economic partners. for his part, john sutter acknowledged this. they reoriented their village economy towards producing pickle salmon for export to hawaii mainly. ofave a great image here indian salmon fishing, a little
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washed out, but this is on the sacramento river in 1854. you can see indians on the banks of the river and they have stretched a large net across the river to catch salmon spawning upstream. not so much anymore because of the damming of the rivers and agriculture, but back in the day, california used to have an abundance of salmon. people,s you hear records of people who visited the pacific northwest in the 19th century who talk about you could walk across the river on the back of the salmon. you can imagine what these guys are netting. using these and native manufacture nats and fishing s, they take these huge catches of salmon and with a little instruction from solder,
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who was -- sutter, who was no expert in pickling salmon, but mostly through their trial and error they master the techniques of preserving salmon in these barrels for export. one visitor in 1841 observe the following, "the sacramento and its branches yield enormous good type.s here th they killed the fishes with stones or spears, caught by oaks or nets stretched across the river. the fish after being salted is consumed in the sandwich islands , to where it is exported by the hudson bay company. ships come from new york to expressly load the salmon." anybody here been to hawaii? there is a famous hawaiian dish, noted hawaiian delicacy of
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salmon. salmon is not native to hawaii. how on earth did the hawaiians come up with salmon is one of their signature dishes? inis because of this trade preserve salmon from california and the pacific northwest. evidently it is a salmon salad mixed with ice. this becomes the village's principal economic activity. so much so that the entire village except and relocates 10 miles upriver to be closer to the colony and supplies of barrels and salt necessary for preserving their cash. atch. there was a whole process. you had to drain off the water, drain off the salmon fluid, a whole process. once that was done they would
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load their barrels onto sutter's boats, then these boats manned by cruise of indian sailors would ferry the goods to san francisco or san jose for export. importantrce was so and made the economic position so strong, that sutter established a small port at the colony, so all of the critical furs,s, first, hides -- hides, salmon, we'd went through the village -- wheat went through the village. throughout the mission era well present and through the gold rush into the early years of the gold rush, not as
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dependent, but in economic partner of the colony. , yourng of the gold rush main exposure up to this point thebeen its importance to crisis over slavery in california entering the union as a free state in the compromise of 1850, but the gold rush is a major turning point. this backwater colonial economy that depended trappingapping -- fur to this incredibly populous wealthy state in which cash is literally coming out of the ground. so a lot of historians have suggested this is the end of indians are economically important to california. they go from a survival part two ultimately be exterminated. one of my colleagues has
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recently published a book called herican genocide about what defines as a genocide against california indians that begins with the gold rush and persists to almost the end of the 19th century. the gold rush is seen as a big turning point, the beginning of the end for california indians. historians are beginning to realize that the gold rush at initially does not materially change indian economic participation in the californian economy. right into coal mining by the tens of thousands in the first year of the gold rush. gold is discovered in january 1848, announced in december 1848, the cold rush begins the spring of 1849. 1848-1849, tens of thousands of indian cold minors
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are in the gold mining regions in the sierra nevada foothills panning out millions of dollars gold from the california mines. example found this to be a huge problem. indians were so keen to get into the mines in 1848 that he recalled "the indians could not be kept longer at work. they were impatient to run to the mines and other indians had informed him of the value, so i had to leave two thirds of my harvest in the field." to do it aren't going anymore. i don't care how much calico cloth you are giving me. this is cash for everybody. we will go get it. they quickly learn the value of gold as they learn the value of anything outs as a commodity being exchanged in california, livestock, birds, salmon, whatever settlers wanted, make anwere quick to
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opportunity in that commodity. they position themselves to take advantage of it by leaving their customary jobs for the mines. the first gold rush in california was truly an indian gold rush. another to this lesser-known story of the california gold rush, where we imagine the grizzled american miner with the long beard and pick and shovel, other than indians in the early years, hawaiians. native there was a brisk trade in salmon with hawaii. they would abandon ship in san francisco and head for the gold fields. and mexican miners sonora, andom chilean miners who would abandon
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ship as sailors at the port in san francisco and go into the gold fields. this. but the initial year or so of the gold rush was a highly international and not very american event, oddly enough, even though we associate the gold rush as as soon as the united states took over california, and all of a sudden there are all americans there. , in considering the significance of california indian labor, has concluded the following -- "surprising to many might be the fact that for about a century, if you thousand indians managed by small numbers of spaniards, mexicans, europeans, and americans sustained an economic revolution . this revolution made california's industrial development possible."
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i would go a step further and suggest that it was many more thousands of indians than the few thousand use adjusted -- then the few thousand he suggested. they certainly did not need the management of whites to get involved in economic activity. only the suggestion of economic opportunity. this turns, in some ways, the standard narrative of california indians on its head. i mentioned when i showed you the image of the mounted indian livestock trader on horseback, that sort of image of california indians as being docile, as being almost steamrolled by white settlers, by the mission system. i feel like this turns that narrative about california indians on its head. california's indian population, especially those touched by the mission, were not passive victims of colonialism and passive recipients of economic transformations in california.
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i am not going to deny that and conquest and were fair, the reduction of disease, were not disruptive and sometimes devastating. entire indian villages perished under these horses -- these forces. but indian people made intelligent choices about their futures based on the new opportunities presented to them, even under dire circumstances, within the limits placed on them by these circumstances. indians used economic changes and sometimes initiated economic changes to sustain themselves and their communities and preserve their independence during a time when that was increasingly harder to do every year. questions? thoughts or feelings? yes ma'am. given a second, we have got the mike coming over. >> it is just interesting to hear you talk so much about their willingness and ability to
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participate in different economic adventures and whatever you might want to call it. we have been taught most of the time that they just got steamrolled into extinction, pretty much. how is it -- i don't know that -- was it really just violence or land hungry nest on the part of white settlers -- violence or nees on the part of white settlers when they seemed to have such an economic mind and ability to adapt to situations that took them out of their homeland? prof. sousa: i will speak to the california situation first. in california, it is literally violence. -- whenterally ranchers, farmers, and gold miners are like, we don't want indians participating in the economy anymore, that we really see the tide turned permanently for california's indian population. the white gold miners do not appreciate the competition that indians present.
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there is sort of this thatesting racial epithet american gold miners used to describe indians. they called the indians in california figures -- diggers. they just dig with sticks, they don't do real economic activity. you can imagine the sense for whites that these people are inferior and they are mining gold and moving from place to place, gathering and digging. and we are kind of doing the same thing, and this is awkward and we don't like this competition. then of course, livestock wrestling does not stop. so as more and more farmers and ranchers become established in central california, that becomes a huge problem. unlike the spanish and mexicans, who imagined the indians to be a vital economic part of their society, americans in california are like, no, these folks are
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not people we see as being a permanent part of our future. they are much more willing to resort to wholesale murder to deter livestock theft. elsewhere in north america, especially in places where the first trade was an important part of the indian economy, like , like read about earlier in the semester, throughout former new france, when that trade goes away, then the significance of indians to the overall survival of the region or overall economic disparity goes away. then especially when americans move in, it is like, these people are not part of our future, they are not economically hairy, but there -- they are not in economically necessary, but their land is. good question, comment. any others? she totally gets an a. [laughter] prof. sousa: shannon, go ahead.
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>> i'm just wondering, you said that whenever they did the fur ur,de or would sell the f they would get three dollars for it. how much would that be now transferred into our time. period? prof. sousa: i was trying to do this earlier today when i talked about mules and horses being sold for $10. what is $10 in 1833 money in terms of 2017 money? i could not dig up anything that looked remotely accurate. suffice to say, a lot more money. folks were talking about -- jedediah smith or maybe edward belcher who talked about furs being sold for three dollars a pop. that is furs that have been ,raded for with indian trappers
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collected by people like john sutter or mission san jose and then sold for three dollars to these ships. what john sutter or mission san jose are collecting is three dollars a skin. what indians are collecting is not three dollars a skin. this again is like when i talked about, i'm not trying to deny there were not that elements of this -- were not bad elements of this. this is one area where the indians were making the best out of the situation, snagging up all the economic opportunity they can, but at the end of the day, white settlers are profiting a lot more. or the missions are profiting a lot more. likeays imagined it indians at the bottom of the economic food chain in this trade, always, so they are never getting the full value of what they are producing. but in some cases, including a california, with three dollars cash money have been significant -- have been as significant to indian traders as five pounds of
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beads? maybe not, so maybe they were coming out ahead. but in terms of dollar value of things, the mission and john sutter and other buyers of indian furs are definitely making more money in terms of dollar value. >> were there any groups of indians that realized they were getting gypped and not getting the full value of the first and tried to take it into their hands? prof. sousa: i did not have to much time to get into this, but there is a whole journal that sutter keeps that is full of his frustrations about being ripped off by indian trappers. he is like, look, i have extended these guys credit, they are all in debt to me hundreds of dollars. i am letting them bother -- borrow my traps and canoes. they are in debt to me, supposed to be bringing back furs to major to pay off debts, but everywhere i go there is selling them to this guy down the street and this guy up the road and
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that guy down the river. in one case, the even appear to be selling to the chief of a local indian village. he is getting ripped off and beaten at his own game by this indian chief who is saying, i will take your first, i can sell those. it is a constant problem for sutter. --t that tells me is that the indians go, it does not favor a well, we could get paid better down the road. you can imagine the position they would be in. sutter is going to give me five pounds of beads, so i will bring these furs to you if you bring me six. so bob smith down the street is like, that checks out. that is something that i think is often underappreciated about the native american history in north america, is that there is a popular stereotype that indians were sort of simple and living off the land and only taking what they needed. these people could drive a bargain, and drive a hard bargain.
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they could ruin somebody. sutter -- this is not the only reason sutter was always on the edge of ruin -- but certainly not being able to get the furs in payment for the goods yet extended and credit went a long way towards mother's economic misery -- went a long way towards some of his economic misery. if i had all the time in the world to keep you guys hostage, i could tell you a little bit more. >> i was wondering when the furs of the beavers and otters ran out, what would happen to both the first raiders and native indians' economy? indians are defending on the furs for the beads and traders are depending on them for currency. so what would happen when they ultimately ran out of the furs? prof. sousa: for a group like the hudson bay company or the british for trade company that sends brigades into california, it becomes a serious problem.
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they eventually stopped sending brigades because they were not getting enough furs for their efforts. you have to put together these guys, pay them, send foods and weapons and goods to trade with the indians. if the indians cannot bring enough furs, it is no longer profitable for the hudson bay company. ultimately, the hudson bay company pulled back from that trade, but indians have tons of irons in the fire. there is no village that is like, trapping is all we do. we trap, we steal livestock, we fish, all kinds of side puzzles. in some ways -- all kinds of hustles. it ends up being more of a problem for the hudson bay company and john sutter. sutter is in a ton of debt and has constructed with various suppliers -- yes, i will pay you back but i will only pay in beaver skins were bushels of wheat. so sutter is in a worse predicament in some ways because if the beaver skins don't come,
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he is in violation of his contract. where is indians are like, the beaver did not work out, we can steal some livestock. sometimes sutter buys the livestock, sometimes they steal the livestock from sutter. it is a constant -- always working some kind of angle. that does not mean that things don't get tough, especially as more american settlers start to arrive in california, especially after the gold rush. what that starts to do is threaten the food level subsistence. if you can't go out and gather acorns without being assaulted by minors, if you can fish the streams because miners are dumping so much sand into the streams that it destroys the salmon run, then you are in a level of trouble that for trapping can't fix. then you don't eat. there are other ways that it becomes tough for indians, but the commodity stuff, the beaver, the livestock, any one of those
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things is not completely the only source of economic survival. we have got a contest here. jordan first. >> throughout history, there have been plenty of times of trading with indians. how can we focus on this time period of trading? prof. sousa: i have the worst answer for this question. d remember when we talked about how historians always study who you -- who they are and where they are from? this is where i am from. if i could figure out a way to research and write about things that happened in the backyard of my childhood home 100 years ago, that is what i would have done. this is as close as i could get to literally studying where i come from. advisor as i was bouncing dissertation topics off of him, said, all this history of the cherokee nation sounds great, but you have to ask yourself, do you really want to
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spend the rest of your life in oklahoma doing this research? so i thought. and he said, where do you want to go? you need to be willing to go to the place. i said, i always wanted to go to california. so that is how i came upon this topic. then it got closer and closer and closer to where i'm from. that's a terrible answer, right? >> i think it's good. prof. sousa: thank you. furid the value of beaver from the west coast make any impact on the southeast region on deerskin value? prof. sousa: by this point in time, by the time california becomes wrapped up in the fur is like the 1820's-18 30's-18 40's, the southwest deerskin trade is over. people still hunt deer, it is still an item you can trade for, but that huge international deerskin trade that powers entire colonies is pretty much over.
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you would never imagine that it was because dear -- partly drastically were so over hunted, because they are such a nuisance in the southeast today, messing up your garden, hitting your car. [laughter] prof. sousa: that it? thanks very much for being here this evening. i hope you all have a wonderful weekend. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] us every: join saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures and history are also available as podcasts. visit our website,, or
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download them from itunes. c-span, where history unfolds daily. 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. announcer: darryl heikes photographed a dozen american presidents, beginning with president eisenhower. next, an oral history interview about his career working for united press international and u.s. news and world report. he photographed president kennedy minutes before his assassination, and the signing of the camp david accords. the briscoe center for american history at the university of texas at austin recorded this 40 minute interview and archived his photos, along with those of other nationally recognized photographers.


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