By Glenda Anderson
Downey’s grandfather was 8 at the time his relatives were forced to relocate from the Sacramento Valley to Round Valley. He was one of only 277 who survived what has come to be known as the Nome Cult Walk or the Trail of Tears.
Some died. Others were killed, according to historical accounts. While that happened more than 140 years ago, scars remain.
Which is why Downey, a spiritual leader with the Round Valley Tribes, said retracing the terrible march is so important.
“This is a very spiritual thing,” Downey said. It is a way to heal those scars, boost Native pride and positively move forward in life.
Round Valley relocations eventually threw together seven tribes, some of which historically had been enemies and did not speak the same language.
And they continued to face persecution and death at the hands of settlers who wanted their new land for cattle ranches.
Later, bloodshed gave way to cultural genocide, with schools attempting to obliterate tribal ways and languages.
Amazing that Californians thought relocating Indians 100 miles away wouldn't destroy their cultures. Or maybe they did think that but didn't care.
Here's a thought: How about relocating the settlers instead? Oh, wait, I forgot: "White-skins good, brown-skins bad."
For another case of cultural genocide, see Review of Waterbuster. For more on California's attitude toward Indians, see Villaraigosa's Pro-California Propaganda.
Below: "Native Americans participate in the 15th annual 100-mile Nome Cult Trail near Anthony Peak in the Mendocino National Forest. The 100-mile trek retraces the forced relocation in 1863 of Indians from the Central Valley across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley." (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat)