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Indian Survival on the California Frontier (Yale Western Americana Series) Paperback – September 10, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0300047981 ISBN-10: 0300047983

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Indian Survival on the California Frontier (Yale Western Americana Series) + The Destruction of California Indians + When the Great Spirit Died: The Destruction of the California Indians 1850-1860
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 10, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300047983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300047981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By James on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book describes the affects of Spanish, Mexican, and American settlement in Indian country on Californian tribes. The author points out differences and similarities between northern, central and southern coastal California Indians and how some tribes were affected and therefore reacted differently to new arrivals from Spain, and the east coast of the blossoming United States.
California is unique to all other areas in today's United States in that it was the last area occupied by American settlers. It was also the last place left for fleeing and exiled tribes from the east to go to. This not only caused strife for local Californian tribes, but led to integration of cross-tribal cultures. Native Americans were very unique from not only outsiders, but also to other tribes.
This book is clearly written and moves at a consistent pace because every sentence is pertinent to California's amazing history!
Sutter's treatment of and plan for Native Americans is something so-called "historians" at Sutter's Mill should learn about before they tout him as some kind of heroic frontiersman. Rape, murder, suicide, disease, corrupted politics, vigilantism, paradoxical alliances between tribes and "White" men... and much more are all in here! I couldn't put this book down! Though it is a history book (of sorts), it reads like a dramatic murder-mystery book... only difference is is that this is non-fiction!! I never knew California's history was so unique and full of intrigue! You'll never think of California as the surfer-dude, Hollywood, sunny golden state again after reading this book...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. W. on September 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a California History class, but I ended up reading it for pleasure as well. It's an amazing look at the history of this state and the unique Indians that inhabited the area as the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans began to settle it.

It's very easy to read and goes by quickly. It helps that the stories used as examples are very interesting and provide a lot of insight into why certain things are the way they are now in California. The book also paints a vivid and disturbing picture of Sutter and how his often despicable actions affected the Indians.

The main thesis of this work is that the story of Indians in California should not be told as a story of destruction and death (though that of course occurred), but rather as a story of adaptation and the will to survive. In fact, in many cases, their own attempts at survival led to their downfall (such as their entry into the new labor force separating families and leading to decreased reproduction rates). The rape and abuse of women by outside settlers is also discussed.

This is definitely a great read for anyone interested in California and its history, or the history of Indians. I would recommend it, for a class or just for your own enjoyment.
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