In 1851, the good-willed leaders of San Diego elected to exact an annual $600 tax from certain Indians in the region. In the first year of the tax, 1850, collections went well, but in the second year, the aboriginals of Southern California refused to pay. The tax collector then threatened them with the seizure of their cattle to pay the tax. At these threats, the Indians became violent, killing a few whites. The Californians soon quelled the revolt and executed the ring leaders. The citizens of San Diego imposed the tax on Indians who had no vote and would receive no benefits from the services of the city (The Indian Tax Rebellion of 1851):
This sorry state of affairs had been spawned from an ill-advised decision made by a handful of politicians. A year earlier, San Diego County officials recklessly decided to slap a $600 a year property tax on some of their dirt-poor Indian neighbors. Living miles away from San Diego, they received no city services. But the white politicians were so sure that the Indians would pay up and not complain that the names of the tribal capitanes were added to the county’s tax rolls without so much as a whisper of warning before they levied the tax.
The sad thing about this tax is that it was a true fulfillment of Chief Justice John Marshal dictum, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” The young state of California, added to the USA in 1850, was in the process of committing genocide against the Indians of the state, and they would do it with the blessing of the governor, funded by the State treasury. Thus, Indians paying the tax would only contribute to and hasten their own demise.
However, the State of California did not kill all the aboriginal children; for Californians had the right to enslave those minors who may have survived. This was called, An Act for the Government and Protection of Indians (1850), a benevolent measure to provide protection:
Any person having or hereafter obtaining a minor Indian, male or female, from the parents or relations of such Indian Minor, and wishing to keep it, such person shall go before a Justice of the Peace in his Township, with the parents or friends of the child, and if the Justice of the Peace becomes satisfied that no compulsory means have been used to obtain the child from its parents or friends, shall enter on record, in a book kept for that purpose, the sex and probable age of the child, and shall give to such person a certificate, authorizing him or her to have the care, custody, control, and earnings of such minor, until he or she obtain the age of majority. Every male Indian shall be deemed to have attained his majority at eighteen, and the female at fifteen years.
In any case, the genocide of the indigenous people of California waged on. One gruesome report of massacre appeared in the Alta Californian newspaper in 1860:
The attacking party rushed upon them, blowing out their brains and splitting their heads open with tomahawks. Little children in baskets, and even babes, had their heads smashed to pieces or cut open. Mothers and infants shared the same phenomenon…. Many of the fugitives were chased or shot as they ran…. The children, scarcely able to run, toddled toward the squaws for protection, crying with fright, but were overtaken, slaughtered like wild animals and thrown into piles.
Before researching for this post, I had never read nor heard any stories of how the Californians brutally slaughtered the Indians to make way for the Gold Rush. I watched many Westerns as a child, and the Indians were most often the bad guys–unless they were the valiant helpers of a white hero like Tonto was for the Lone Ranger. That is until I saw, as an adult, the film Dances with Wolves (1990). So not only did the Californians slaughter the Indians, but their future film industry would whitewash the genocide. If any reader can point me to a film made before Dances with Wolves that depicts the genocide of Indians of California, please do. Otherwise, my judgment is fair that the victors rewrote the history to make the slaughtering of Indians a heroic act.
The California genocide, which began with the Mexican missions and ended with the persecution of the State of California is summarized as follows [sic]:
By the mid-1860′s only 34,000 indians remained alive in California, a 90% attrition rate, comparable to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917. Finally, in the 1870′s, the federal government began moving on creating indian reservations in southern California. 13 were created between 1875 and 1877. By 1930 another 36 reservations had been created in northern California.
So here are the points on which the treatment of the Californian Indians resembles our situation as US Expats:
- Taxation without representation.
- The taxes levied are wholly for the benefit of others.
- The government threatens us with the confiscation of our property and livelihood if we are unwilling to report and pay taxes (i.e., 383% FBAR fines; $10,000 8554 fine; $10,000 8938 fine, etc.).
- The victors are controlling the narrative of the propaganda: the Indians are savages, the Californians good; expats are tax cheats, the IRS are good-willed folks enforcing American Exceptionalism.
- The authorities claim that they are protecting the Indians/Expats, but instead, are enslaving them.
- Both the Indians and Expats, by paying the tax, are feeding the beast that would result in their own demise–the Indians through genocide; the Expats through confiscatory double taxation and FBAR fines. Do not feed the bears!