Most Californians don't realize that in the latter half of the 19th century their state's policy toward its Native peoples was extermination -- genocide in the canon of contemporary international law. This Dec. 2022 presentation to the Institute for Historical Study provides an overview of the genocide and highlights the lessons we need to take even now from this horrific period.
Here's the video of the panel discussion I moderated with Katya Cengel, author of Exiled: From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to California and Back, and Sieu Sean Do, A Cloak of Good Fortune: A Cambodian Boy's Journey from Paradise Through a Kingdom of Terror. Both books focus on the Cambodian genocide: Katya as a compassionate reporter chronicling the cruel fate of refugees deported to a country they no longer know, Sieu as a firsthand survivor of the Khmer Rouge's killing fields. I moderated from the point of view of California's genocide against its Indigenous peoples, on display in The Modoc War. Sponsored by UC Berkeley Extension.
Here's the recording of the book reading and discussion I did with author Ray March and Univ. of Nebraska editor Matthew Bokovoy on May 18, 2021 via Francie & Finch Bookshop in Lincoln, NE. My Modoc War covers an obscure Indian conflict in the remote northeastern corner of frontier California, yet this little-told story illuminates the shameful treatment of Native Americans across the United States and the horror of the California genocide. Set against much the same geographical backdrop, Ray March's Mass Murder in California's Empty Quarter details the all-too-common collision of greed, tribal disenrollment, and violence on the reservation.