Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Ancient Combat The Liver-Eater Reader White Indians & Yellow Negroes
'To Hire Out Such Vagrant'
Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeder in the Wildreness of Modern America by Douglas Cazaux Sackman


"Hi James,

"For your research—Indian slavery in California, aprox. 1850s The Book doesn't state when this law was repealed.

"Keep up the good work."

-S.S. Sam

Thank you, S.S. Sam! This will be very useful in the Yellow Negroes and White Indians book.

The Reich's last fugitive, then highlighted the following passage on page 24:

After hearing a complaint from the "reasonable citizen"—in other words, a white man—a justice of the piece could convict the accused Indian of vagrancy and "hire out such vagrant within twenty-four hours to the highest bidder."

And let's guess who the highest bidder was?

That's right, the reasonable citizen.

I went on to read most of this book last week when it arrived, a book concerned with the beginning of anthropology in California, Ishi, a last survivor of one of the fifty or so tribes which were hunted to extinction, unlike Indians in most areas of North America, with their children sold as slaves. In this way, some of the last Indians to have contact with English speaking invaders in North America suffered the same fate as the very first English speaking settlers, being enslaved by and sometimes adopted into the families of, their conquerors. The text is in agreement with Feldman's conclusions in Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America.

A fascinating aspect of this era in California is it was the only place that really fits the Hollywood image of white men just coming in and exterminating Indians in organized hunts. Some of the most savage desperados in the Americas made their way to California in the 48 Gold Rush to prey on miners, free trappers, Chinese immigrant laborers and Indians. So it wasn't just about killing Indians, it was about establishing an overt system of criminal predation in the interim between the loss of California by Mexico and the establishment of effective governance by the U.S. One of the men who was hired to combat these ruthless criminal gangs was the man who became known as Liver-Eating Johnson, after he escaped from confinement on a U.S. Navy ship in San Francisco Harbor. I suspect, that Johnson's fanciful feud against the Crows [which has been clearly disproven] has its roots in his activities against white desperados in California, as his subsequent regulating activity in Montana that followed this period, was of the same character, and might better explain his retirement to California in his last year of life.

A valuable aspect of this study is that the author offers proof that old English vagrancy laws enacted during the 100 Years War and the Black Death in the 14th Century were still being employed, virtually unchanged, in newly settled U.S. territories in the mid 19th Century, despite the claims of some establishment historians that the buying and selling of humans in America was exclusively a matter of racial hatred, not a matter of exploiting the economically displaced. Indeed, William Garrison, who would become Liver-Eating Johnson, had escaped this form of servitude in New Jersey when he took to sea a decade earlier to escape the servitude his father had sold him into.

In the English-American tradition—and this is true to this day—a person who has no money, no home, and no state-recognize citizenship status, is a criminal, liable to imprisonment and exploitation. Such men work on road gangs and in prison workhouses to this day. In the case of an aboriginal people, used to living on the move and having no coinage or citizenship status, they were readymade victims for the labor laws originally penned to keep men bound to the land and to permit the enslavement of any who broke that bond.

See also Surviving On The Streets: A Loompanics Classic for a firsthand discussion of the criminalization of homelessness implicit in English-American society.

Waking Up in Indian Country: Harm City: 2015

https://www.amazon.com/Waking-Up-Indian-Country-Harm-ebook/dp/B01MSVDO45/ref=sr_1_60?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489604348&sr=1-60&refinements=p_27%3AJames+LaFond

Add Comment