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California genocide facts for kids

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California genocide
Part of the California Gold Rush
"Protecting The Settlers" Illustration by JR Browne for his work "The Indians Of California" 1864.jpg
"Protecting The Settlers", illustration by J. R. Browne for his work The Indians Of California, 1864
Location California
Date 1846–1871
Target Indigenous Californians
Deaths 9,492 to 16,094 (Madley) (other estimates: 4,500–100,000) indigenous Californians outright killed, thousands more died due to disease and other causes
Non-fatal injuries
24,000 to 27,000 Native Americans were taken as forced laborers by white settlers; 4,000 to 7,000 of them children
Assailants United States Army, California State Militia, settlers of Mexican, Spanish and other European descent

The California genocide consisted of actions taken by the United States in the 19th century, following the American Conquest of California from Mexico, that resulted in the dramatic decrease of the indigenous population of California.

Between 1849 and 1870 it is conservatively estimated that American colonists murdered some 9,500 California Natives, and acts of enslavement, kidnapping, child separation and displacement were widespread, encouraged, carried out by and tolerated by state authorities and militias.

The 1925 book Handbook of the Indians of California estimated that the indigenous population of California decreased from perhaps as many as 150,000 in 1848 to 30,000 in 1870 and fell further to 16,000 in 1900. The decline was caused by disease, starvation and massacres.

California Native Americans, particularly during the Gold Rush, were targeted in killings. 24,000 to 27,000 Native Americans were also taken as forced labor by settlers. The state of California used its institutions to favor white settlers' rights over indigenous rights and was responsible for dispossession of the natives.

Since the 2000s several American academics and activist organizations, both Native American and European American, have characterized the period immediately following the U.S. Conquest of California as one in which the state and federal governments waged genocide against the Native Americans in the territory.

In 2019 California's governor Gavin Newsom apologized for the genocide and called for a research group to be formed to better understand the topic and inform future generations.

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