For millennia a diverse population of Native American tribes thrived on the abundant lands of California. Before European settlers arrived, an estimated 300,000 native people lived in small villages throughout the area. Contact with the new settlers brought about serious disruptions to the native way of life. The gold rush of 1848 brought still more devastation. Violence, disease and loss overwhelmed the tribes. By 1870, an estimated 30,000 native people remained in the state of California, most on reservations without access to their homelands. Two native descendants of these tribes, April Moore and Professor Frank LaPena, and historian James Rawls tell us about what happened to Native Americans in the period of the Gold Rush.
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