Brendan C. LindsaySep 9, 2012
California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873
University of Nebraska Press 2012
Brendan C. Lindsay's impressive if deeply troubling new book centers on two concepts long considered anathema: democracy and genocide. One is an ideal of self-government, the other history's most unspeakable crime. Yet as Lindsay deftly describes, Euro-American settlers in California harnessed democratic governance to expel, enslave and ultimately murder 90% of a population on their ancestral homelands in the mid-to-late 19th century. Murder State: California's Native Genocide, 1846-1873 (University of Nebraska Press, 2012) is difficult but vital reading for residents of any state. Culling evidence from newspapers, public records, and personal narratives, Lindsay's lays out an ironclad case that "genocide" is precisely the word to describe to the process faced by Native people in California, despite its rarified usage in academic and public discourse.