Tag Archives: Modoc

Forgotten Lost Victories – The Modocs – 1852

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Bringing civilization to Native Americans was never easy.  Almost every step of the way the tribes selfishly hoarded the lands they depended upon, frequently resorting to violence when whites who needed the land for farming, ranching and mining tried to run them off.

One example was the Modocs in northern California, 1852.  The US suddenly owned the land, having disproved the false claims by Mexico of ownership by invading them and killing as many as they could catch.  But the Modocs were spoiled by being owned by Mexico, being mostly left alone.  When whites came into the Tule Lake area the Modoc slaughtered 38 innocent people.

Ben Wright and a group of miners from Yreka, California attempted to peacefully resolve the situation by having a feast for the tribe, but almost to a person the Modoc unreasonably refused to eat the poisoned food. 

Wright and the miners were forced to fire into the mass  of tribal members, which allowed a third of them to escape.  That failure led to decades more of Modoc attempts to halt the march of civilization and disputing rightful white claims to the land.

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Not until 1873, after seven months of hard fighting and the loss of many innocent white lives were the Modoc finally subdued permanently and the leaders hanged.

A microcosm of the history of the western US where flawed and improper leadership and planning resulted in the needless loss of innocent white lives.