Historical Documents

Short History of California Indians

As told by Historian Raymond "Koodie" Jeff

As Carole Goldberg, UCLA Law Professor, encouraged, California has a tragic history of hostility toward its Native Peoples, including unrestrained, vigilante groups that hunted Native men, women and children like game animals during the first decades of statehood killing thousands. The state's first governor, John McDougal, famously declared, "A war of extermination will continue to we waged between the races until the Indian races become extinct."

Raymond "Koodie" Jeff, Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribal Historian, recognized that our children are aware of other racial genocides and that our state education system exposes our children to such as the historical genocide of the Jewish race, yet limits our children's exposure to our own history. As Tribal Historian, Mr. Jeff shares the following historic information, to inform our youth of the State's contribution to our history.

In 1852 when our 18 treaties were not ratified the U.S. turned its head the other way, and let the State of California handle the Indian population. On August 13, 1853, the Governor of the State of California declared extermination of all Indians in the State of California. So for over 50 years our genocide lasted. The timeline for the extermination of California Indians is as follows:

  • 1852 Treaties were not ratified
  • 1853 Extermination ordered by the State
  • 1856 The State of California issued a bounty of $0.25 per Indian scalp
  • 1860 The State of California increased the bounty to $5.00 per Indian scalp
  • 1903 The Federal Government came back into the picture 50 years later and was trying to figure out how to save the existing population. 99% of the Tachi-Yokut population were killed. It took the government 18 years to save my people
  • 1907 The last killing I was able to find was right here in our own backyard at the Island District. In 1907, 25 to 30 of our people were killed. Also during this time, no Native Americans were allowed to own land
  • 02/28/1921 The Federal Government created 123 Rancherias in California.
  • 1944 The United States let California steal our land for a sale of $1.25 per acre (Bill of Sale K-344); and
  • 1950 The population of Native Americans totaled 22,000 in California (as compared to 394,000, of which 52,000 are federally recognized today.)