Reflecting on life around Shasta long ago

Curating this intriguing video here. I often wonder what it was really like in the Northstate, say 600 years ago. We know very little for certain. But from bits and pieces of history I’ve learned, a kind of mental picture emerges. Thousands of people living along the rivers and streams that make life abundant here. Then abruptly decimated by plague and disease brought here via contact with the “old world.” By the time the Gold Rush hit around 1849, that larger indigenous culture was nearly two hundred years gone. What little was left was crushed by mining and other natural resource exploitation. Not even like they traded land for beads. It was simply taken.

After that, we know more. A native village on the north side of the river from early Redding existed in an uneasy and ultimately doomed relationship with the town. Remaining tribal fragments are today scattered in various Rancherias. Remnants of what we would today describe as genocide. Trying to visualize the whole picture is impossible with so many pieces of the story missing. And then this brief video added an important piece to the picture.

I like to think that if you try hard enough, you can visualize just a glimpse of first people’s lives when observing the natural beauty that surrounds us in the northstate. Lives engaged hunting and gathering. Bountiful salmon, smoked for keeping on pole racks along the river. Menacing Wolves, Mountain Lions, and terrifying Grizzly Bears. A complex oral history passed down around a village fire. And not romanticized. They were just like all humans, good and bad. Also tribalism can bring out the best and worst in humankind.

And then it was gone.

And so the collective history of humanity in the Americas will always have a big gaping hole.

MtShasta Lenticular1

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