The first inhabitants of California were a diverse group of Native American tribes, including the Karok, Maidu, Cahuillena, Mojave, Yokuts, Pomo, Paiute, and Modoc. These tribes lived in villages of up to 1000 people and were fiercely independent. They had craft specialists who produced goods to earn a living and families who produced everything they needed to survive. In 1850, California became the 31st state of the United States as part of the Compromise of 1850.
However, the state legislature quickly passed laws that legalized Indian slavery. The Northern California Indian Association prompted the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to list landless Indians in 1905.During this time, some 30 Spanish land concessions had already been signed throughout Alta California to soldiers of the Presidio and government officials. The gold rush caused a rapid increase in population and a lack of cargo to pay for ships leaving California. To make up for this, customs duties were imposed to pay for the cost of the California government.
This influx of people overwhelmed Alta California and led to aggressive Indian incursions and the arrival of US forces in 1846.The remoteness and isolation of California made it difficult to establish and maintain settlements. Food was mainly composed of acorns, which was unpleasant for most Europeans. As a result, most land in the missions was given in large grants to white Californians or Mexican immigrants. In 1978, the state legislature created the Native American Heritage Commission in recognition of the growing sophistication of California Indians.
The Modoc War of 1872 was provoked by a policy that insisted on deporting the Modoc from California to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon.