I sympathized with the Americans while they hated them.” Indeed, it was from John Sutter’s Fort that several relief and rescue parties were dispatched into the mountains to save what was left of the ill-fated Donner Party in early 1847. The successful operation of California’s Mexican-era rancho system was based largely on Indian labor. Althou “The Capt. Although this much about Sutter and his ultimate fate is generally known, his relations with the native peoples in the Sacramento Valley have received insufficient attention from historians. A statue of John Sutter, a 19th century European colonizer of California who enslaved Native Americans, was removed from its pedestal outside of Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento — the latest reckoning of historical figures being removed from public display. John Augustus Sutter (February 23, 1803 – June 18, 1880), born Johann August Sutter, was a German-born Swiss immigrant of Mexican and American citizenship, known for establishing Sutter's Fort in the area that would eventually become Sacramento, California, the state's capital. Later, in his memoirs, Sutter explained: “I gave passports to those entering the country…and this (they) did not like, I was friendly with the emigrants of whom (they) were jealous. This is especially appropriate because Sutter was given the official responsibility of overseeing Indian relations in the Sacramento Valley, and under the terms of his land grant, maintaining “the native Indians of the different tribes…in the enjoyment and liberty of their possessions, without molesting them…(or) making war upon them in any way without previously obtaining authority (from) the government.” Obviously, he wantonly violated and neglected his responsibility as the official supervisor of Indian affairs in his assigned territory. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Wild West magazine today! Sign up for our daily newsletter. Based on the information provided, Bancroft reported that “from the first, [Sutter] was in the habit of seizing Indian children, who were retained as servants, or slaves, at his own establishment, or sent to his friends in different parts of the country[Alta California]. All the Labourers grate [sic] and small ran to the troughs like so many pigs and fed themselves with their hands as long as the troughs contained even a moisture.” Dr. G.M. Leidersdorff, although Sutter and most others had no idea, was a black man (of Danish-African ancestry) who apparently saw nothing wrong with having native American slaves ( see “Westerners” in the February 2001 issue of Wild West). The Americas were built on the backs of not just black slaves but Indian slaves as well. I encouraged immigration, while they discouraged it. John Augustus Sutter (1803-1880), German-born American adventurer and colonizer, is generally regarded as one of the founding fathers of California. John Sutter (born Johann August Suter; February 23, 1803–June 18, 1880) was a Swiss immigrant in California whose sawmill was the launching spot for the California Gold Rush. In the Spring of 1846, Sutter gave about a dozen Indian slaves to fellow California businessman William A. Leidersdorff to help pay off a debt. Vandals splashed paint over a statue of him. Sutter himself did not benefit from the gold rush and his empire crumbled after the discovery was made. James Clyman, a Virginia-born mountain man who had no reason to sympathize with the Indians since they nearly took his life twice during attacks in the Rocky Mountains, nonetheless recalled in 1846 that Sutter fed his Indians like animals. Currently, less than 1% of the local population is of Native descent. Ira Gershwin, American lyricist and musical collaborator with his brother George. When I opened the door for them in the morning, the odor that greeted me was overwhelming, for no sanitary arrangements had been provided. The Ochecames and the other local natives with whom Sutter forged alliances were often products of the Spanish mission system.
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