Gold Rush in Yurok Country

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Gold Rush in Yurok Country

By 1849 settlers were quickly moving into Northern California because of the discovery of gold at Gold Bluffs and Orleans.

 

Yurok and settlers traded goods and Yurok assisted with transporting items via dugout canoe. However, this relationship quickly changed as more settlers moved into the area and demonstrated hostility toward Indian people. With the surge of settlers moving in the government was pressured to change laws to better protect the Yurok from loss of land and assault. The rough terrain of the local area did not deter settlers in their pursuit of gold. They moved through the area and encountered camps of Indian people. Hostility from both sides caused much bloodshed and loss of life. The gold mining expeditions resulted in the destruction of villages, loss of life and a culture severely fragmented.

 

By the end of the gold rush era at least 75% of the Yurok people died due to massacres and disease, while other tribes in California saw a 95% loss of life. 

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