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Timeline / Defining Rights and Responsibilities / 1853: At Tejon Reservation, Native gatherers told to farm

1853: At Tejon Reservation, Native gatherers told to farm

Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California Edward F. Beale orders the creation of five reservations in the San Joaquin Valley. The Tejon Reservation is the first in California, and the Tejon people, who forage for food, are expected to farm the land. Drought, along with settlers who let their livestock loose on the reservation, destroys the crops, and the Tejon return to their traditional way of life, hunting and gathering food.

Jose Pacheco, a Tejon leader, wrote to U.S. General George Wright on April 16, 1864, “I should not have troubled you with this letter, Dear General, did I not think the agents here had wronged us. You and our great father at Washington do not know how bad we fare, or you would give us food or let us go back to our lands where we can get plenty of fish and game. I do not think we get the provisions intended for us by our Great Father; the agents keep it from us, and sell it to make themselves rich, while we and our children are very poor and hungry and naked.” —Sacramento Union, April 28, 1864

Federal-Tribal Relations