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California history: Chronicle of atrocities

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“An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe” by Benjamin Madley was released this week. Image courtesy of Yale University Press
UCLA professor writes history of Native American genocide in California 

Few people outside Del Norte know about the 1853 slaughter of Tolowa at Yontocket (Yan’-daa-k’vt) on the south bank of the Smith River. Yet with a death toll as high as 600, it stands as one of the largest mass killings of Native Americans in U.S. history. 

It’s a fact that staggered Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation tribal chairman Loren Me’-lash-ne Bommelyn when speaking with Benjamin Madley, whose book “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe” was released this week. Bommelyn said before he realized the magnitude of the Yontocket massacre, he thought it was one example of an all-too common occurrence.


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