This is a virtual memorial to all the California Indians

who died in the many years genocide.




~~~~~~~ Timeline ~~~~~~~


Author: Diana G. Tumminia

 Precontact - Map , Map 2

History of California Native Peoples

More History

Question: Shouldn't the title be California Native Americans' Memorial?

Answer: The conventional name for this category of Native Americans is still California Indians.

1769 - Early Contact. Father Serra at San Diego with military support. Spanish barter with indigenous peoples. Soldiers build El Presidio, the fort. Some native people convert to Catholicism as part of the trade process; others are forced to work at the mission.

1729-1834 Many populations are captured and forced into slave labor. In the mission system, soldiers abuse women and spread venereal disease which repeatedly decimates populations. Other diseases, such as measles and small pox, ravage indigenous populations. Friars punish Indians with flogging for any infraction, including running away. Native Americans build the Mission System at tremendous personal costs.

1775 - Presidio soldiers pursue two runaways, Zegota and Francisco. They escape and organize a Kumeyaay rebellion. They burn the San Diego Mission.

1777 - Santa Clara Mission epidemic.

1782 - Santa Barbara Mission built. Spanish disrupt Chumash economy and spread disease. See Chumash.

1793 - Ohlone people pressed into service. (San Francisco) See Ohlone.

1785 - Led by female chief Toy Purina, San Gabriel Mission Indians revolt. Many rebels killed, while others exiled to Santa Barbara Island.

1795 - 200 Indians fled Mission Dolores

1804 - San Diego, friar who flogs cook is poisoned. At Santa Cruz, Indians kill another friar.

1820 - 20,000 Native Americans in Mission System. They are called neophytes. They are mistreated, beaten, sexually assaulted, or killed for infractions, particularly running away.

1824 - Chumash revolt at Santa Barbara, Santa Inez, & La Purisma Concepcion. Juana Maria

1829 - The Spring Creek massacre.

1834 - Governor of California frees Indians from missions, but without land they are forced into servitude with wealthy landowners. Many migrated to Los Angeles.

1837 - Genocidal raids against native people. Jose Maria Amador kills 200.

1839 - 1849 - Johann Sutter keeps 600 to 800 Indians in virtual slavery.

1846 - A member of the Donner Party kills his two Indian guides for food.

1847 - Indian district of Los Angeles razed. Native Americans required to live with their "masters."

1848 - Indians exploited in gold panning operations. "Digger's ounce" invented. See Maidu. California Indian Policies. See Maidu.

1848 - Treaty of Guadelupe Hildalgo honors Native-American land rights.

1849- Weber Creek massacre.

1849 - The Pomo of Clear Lake rise up against their "masters." The army puts down rebellion.

1850 - Bloody Island Massacre, another site on the history.Video of protest & memorial ceremony.

1850-1868 Active open slave trade of Indians. Children and women constantly abducted.

1850 - Known as the California Indian Slave Act by critics, The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians passed by the First State Constitutional Convention.

1850 - At Feather River massacre, Miwok attacked by militia. Antonio Garra, chief of Cupenos, leads uprising against Juan Jose Warner (Warner Springs).Pala Indians

1850-1860 Indians removed to "Farms" or pre-reservations. 1860-1890 Reservation system established.

1850-1872 Yahi hunted and killed. Ishi, the last of his tribe survives.

1852 - California legislature authorized $1.1 million to reimburse people who kill Indians.

1852 - Bridge Gulch Massacre

1860 - Indian Island Massacre, Text.

1862 - Concow Maidu Trail of Tears

1863 - The Humboldt Times editorializes for extermination.

1872 - Attack on Captain Jack of the Modocs. Modoc War. Captain Jack's Cave. Modoc profile.

1880s - Children forced to go to "Indian" schools. Boarding schools.

1883 - Banker Darius Ogden Mills presented a statue of Columbus Appealing to Queen Isabella to the State and it is placed in the State Capitol building at Sacramento.

1887 - Dawes Act allowed whites to gobble up more native land.

1900 - Alfred Kroeber starts his research. 

1911 - Ishi found in Oroville, California. film clips

1928 - Congress created the California Indian Jurisdictional Act, or Lea Act. Under it, lawsuits filed over broken treaties. 18 Treaties

1950-1960s - Termination policy of Federal Government. (Lecture)

Miwok Fight to Reclaim Tribal Status

Lost Tribal Status

1965 - Statue of Junipero Serra erected in Capitol Park, Sacramento.

1969 - Indians of All Nations takeover Alcatraz Island. See film Alcatraz is Not an Island.

D-Q University logo

1971 - Native American and Chicano activists occupy an old Army communications center near Davis, California. They foundD-Q University, a college for all indigenous peoples.  The "D" stands for the name of the Great Peacemaker Denagawida who inspired the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee); the full name symbolized by the "D" is used only in a religious context. The "Q" represents Quetzalcoatl, an Aztec prophet, who symbolizes the principles of wisdom and self-discipline.

1972 - A petition by American Indian students at Stanford University results in that school dropping its "Indian" sports team nickname and logos. Movement to end Indian mascots.

1987 - In California vs. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Supreme Court ruled that the states could not enforce any gaming laws or regulations on Indian reservations. In response to California vs. Cabazon, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, that gives states limited power over tribal gaming.

1990s -

Current Reservations

Tribes Not Recognized by Federal Government

1996 - Ishi not last? 

1999 - Demands to return Ishi's remains. Ishi's Brain.

2000 - Ishi's brain returned.

Miwok Fight to Reclaim Tribal Status

2000 - According to US Census, 333,346 people reported as Native American in California, the highest population concentration in US. These people who reported being Native American in California represent many native nations, and, of course, not all were indigenous to California (for example, Cherokees of California who are not indigenous). Some people who filled out the census were of mixed race, but did not report as such. There is no procedure to check for accuracy in reporting.  The Native American category in the census made up 1% of Californians.  When adding reported Native Americans to those who stated a native heritage in addition to another heritage (mixed race), the total count was 627,562 or 1.9% of Californians. The Native American population count has grown significantly outstripping the national rate since the late 1980s. Some of the reason for this growth is a phenomenon called "switching"---meaning that some people did not report their race formerly as Native American, but have switched for various reasons, one being it is more acceptable now to be an American Indian than in previous decades.

2002 - California dedicates bronze plaque on the steps of the Capitol Building to California Indians.  California Indian Seal


2003 - Professor Edward Castillo of Sonoma State University receives grant to develop curriculum for grade schoolers about indigenous history.  Many students do not hear the real story of Native-American history until they come to college.

no date - Some time in the last few years, Capitol Park added a grinding rock to honor native peoples.

2005 - In January, D-Q University lost its accreditation.

2006-Native artists.

2007 - December 15-Representatives of Miwoks accept apology. Francis Quinn, retired Catholic bishop of Sacramento, apologized for cruelties the Church committed against Native Americans at the 109th anniversary of Mission San Rafael Archangel. The mistreatment of Miwoks at the mission has rarely been acknowledged.

2007 - Remembering the old days, Yosemite / Paiute  Harold Miller, you-tube video



To learn more about the genocide and aspects of native culture, read:




I created this webpage as an educational resource on the California genocide of native peoples. Copyright held by Dr. Diana Tumminia. Contact Diana Tumminia, Dept. of Sociology, CSU at Sacramento, Sacramento, Ca. 95819-6005.


I created the page for adults who wanted to do more study.

In California, various school systems assign a learning segment on the California Mission system.

 Ironically, I get mail from younger students who have to complete the  California Mission assignment.  Some grade school and middle school students want to know why the genocidal aspects of the California Mission system and the native revolts against repression are hardly mentioned in their school curriculums.  If these aspects are mentioned, the reasons for the rebellions are not explored.  Some students would prefer to work on Native American and Chicano history projects. I support this alternative.

Incidently, I just visited the Serra Museum at San Diego's Presidio Park. In one line in the exhibit, the museum mentions a native revolt, but gives no reasons for the rebellion. Again, the museum silently prefers not to remember the genocide.