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Jeanet Herrera
California State University Dominguez Hills
Liberal Studies 375
Negative Effects for Native Californians
February 7, 2015

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For Native Californians a lot of changes came following the arrival of the Spanish. Life was
more negative than positive for Native Americans during this time. Native Americans were forced to
make drastic changed to their life, many of which were against everything they believed in. They faced
learning a new lifestyle, being mistreated by all kinds of people, or having to learn a new religion.
Native Californians were changing their lives whether they liked it or not.
The first reason why life was more negative for native Californians was the fact that they had to learn a
new way of life. Native Californians were used to living off the land, everything they needed was
provided by their environment and was traded within other small communities. With the arrival of the
Spanish came new jobs that natives were forced to do and had never known of before. According to
Susanna Bryant Dakin “ There were vaqueros, soap makers, tanners, shoe makers,” etc., also she states “
in fact everything but coopers, who were foreign; all in the balance, masons, plasterers, etc., were all
natives.” Things like these were never needed before the Spanish arrived and having all those jobs
pinned on the natives made it more difficult for them to live in the life they were taught.
The next reason life was more negative for native Californians was because of the way they were
now being treated. Before they were allowed to live where ever they wanted and how they wanted and
the Spanish forced them to live where they felt was fit for them, if they tried to leave the were punished.
If a child was born between a Native and a Spaniard the child was killed. According to Dakin, “In fact
every white child born among them for a long period was secretly strangled and buried”. Also the text
states, “Therefore, when a women had the misfortune to bring forth a stillborn child, she was punished.”
Not only did a women had to face he misfortune of grieving for the loss of a child she also had to worry
about what punishment she would receive. The mistreatment was so bad that even natives would beat on
other natives.

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Another negative effect for the natives was that they had to learn a new religion. They were
forced to convert to Christianity even though they didn’t believe in the same god as the Spanish. They
did not even understand what the bible had to say but yet converted to please the priest. The text states
“Not one word of Spanish did the understand- not one word of the Indian tongue did the priest know”.
It’s hard to imagine having to change your religion but doing so to what you don’t understand is cruel.
Baptisms weren’t even done the way they are done today the father would say a few words, most of
which the native didn’t understand, and he would call it a conversion.
Life was more negative than positive for native Californians after the Spanish arrived. They were
used to living off the land and having their own lifestyle, but everything changed drastically. The natives
were used to living their life by using all thing provided by nature but that changed with the Spanish
arrival. They were also a close-knit community but with the Samish came violence. Lastly, they believed
in their own god and that also changed with they Spanish arrival. If the Spanish had not shown up how
they did the natives would have lived their lived the only way they knew how. Change is always scary
especially when it happens in your own back yard, its no surprise why the natives were not happy about
the arrival of the “white ones”.

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Reference:

Dakin, Susanna Bryant. "Letter 17-19." A Scotch Paisano; Hugo Reid's
Life in California, 1832-1852, Derived From His Correspondence. Berkeley: U
of California, 1939. 262-86. Print.