Most Californians are unaware that their state sponsored and funded a campaign to exterminate the Indigenous population — a mass atrocity known under contemporary international law as genocide. This course explores what happened in California between 1846 and 1900 and looks at how a democracy orchestrated a crime typically associated with dictatorship. It also connects California’s story with the larger United States narrative of conquest, and considers the effects upon California society, culture, and politics today.
Robert Aquinas McNally is the author of The Modoc War: A Story of Genocide at the Dawn of America’s Gilded Age, which won a 2018 gold medal from the Commonwealth Club as the year’s best book on California. His work has appeared in “California History,” “Indian Country Today,” “Wild West,” and elsewhere.