The Tachi Yokut Indians have inhabited the San Joaquin valley for centuries.
Our forefathers made their living peacefully through farming, hunting, fishing, and gathering grains, nuts and fruits. Our lands consisted of fertile valleys, marshlands and rolling foothills. With the arrival of the American settlers, we gradually lost the land where we once lived. Our land was given away by the government or sold to farmers and ranchers, sometimes as bounty for killing our people. By the end of the 19th century, the Tachi Yokut Tribe was split across the central and southern parts of California.
Here in the San Joaquin Valley, our people were marched on foot from the valley to the foothills to make way for farmers and ranchers. When oil was discovered near Coalinga, we then were marched back to a desolate spot in the central valley near the present location of our reservation.
The Citizenship Act of 1924 gave all Indians American citizenship rights while allowing them to retain their tribal citizenship but it made little difference in the way we were treated by the government. As part of our integration into white society, the federal government sent our children to government schools, our religion was banned, and the teaching of our language and culture was all but forbidden.
Even after the land grabs and removal efforts had ceased, the damage had been done. The division of our people, the suppression of the Indian culture, and the influence of white society left our people with few ties to the past.
Aspirations for the future were being destroyed by the resulting economic hardships and prejudice.
For generations our people have tried to support themselves as seasonal field laborers. Government regulations produced long term economic stagnation on the reservation, resulting in 85% unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, and a cycle of poverty which ground away at the hope for a better future for our children.