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1 The Collision Of Cultures
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32 Through The Picture Window: Society And Culture, 19451960
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34 New Frontiers: Politics And Social Change In The 1960s
35 Rebellion And Reaction In The 1960s And 1970s
36 A Conservative Insurgency
37 Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

Cover Letter and Lease between Sutter and the Yalesummi Tribe (February 4, 1848)

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On January 18, 1848, John Sutter and several men constructing a sawmill discovered a rich vein of gold in Coloma Valley, California. This lease agreement between John A. Sutter and James Wilson Marshall and the local Yalesummi Tribe had been drafted January 1 but was not yet signed when gold was discovered. On February 4, Sutter hurriedly met with two chiefs and two alcaldes of the Yalesummi tribe and obtained their signatures on the lease. This document set the pattern for aggressive (and sometimes forced) negotiation of Indian land cessions following the discovery of precious metals in the American West. However, this lease was rejected by Colonel R. B. Mason, the military governor of California, who reasoned that "the United States do not recognize the right of Indians to sell or lease lands on which they reside." As you read this lease, consider the role of mining claims in the often-violent process of Indian land cessions and the desperate difficulties of securing clear land titles for areas containing precious metals. Americans in California talked about the spread of American freedom to formerly anarchic lands, but the United States government was welcomed perhaps more because of its judicial bias in favor of American land titles and its willingness to use federal troops to protect miners and their land titles against Native American and Mexican claimants. What does Sutter claim this deal will do for the local Native Americans?

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