I am the melting pot… The united colors of Benetton… Global Fusion… The many countries of the Western world are on my face and in my veins and expressed through these words. Being a California native on top of it all makes for a perfect melange of an American who is, and has seen, it all. According to Donald Trump I descend from killers and rapists, but despite he is a man who loves money, it seems he may not have heard of California’s FIRST Gold Rush at Placerita Canyon. If he had, he would at least have to acknowledge that America is more complex than he promotes and people shouldn’t believe everything white men teach.
Here is my little finger wag at the eurocentric California History books that we all have been taught from. We, in the United States, are taught that the first California Gold rush was at Sutters Mill in 1849. Well, that is simply not true at all. The first California Gold Rush was in 1842 at Placerita Canyon, less than seven years earlier, when California was not yet United States territory. In fact it was recognized as part of an entirely different country, Mexico. The Sutter’s Mill and Placerita Canyon gold rushes were active less than two years apart, yet Sutters Mill is known recorded “American history” and no North American outside of Southern California has ever heard of Placerita Canyon because it is recorded “Mexican history”.
- California is territory of Spain, then Mexico
- 1842 Gold Rush at Placerita Canyon, California – Mexican Territory
- 1846-1848 Mexican-American War
- 1848 United States paid Mexico $18,250,000 for California
- 1849 Gold Rush at Sutter’s Mill, California – United States Territory
Here’s my video telling the story of the Oak of the Golden Dream in Placerita Canyon:
Why should you care about this obscure misrepresentation of American History? Because it is a distilled example of how distorted our Untied States history is, and shining the light on this story is my flap of the butterfly’s wing that contributes to blowing the lid off the mythical eurocentric telling of American history that refuses to honor what is native, simple and true.
I am the unholy spawn of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed mother of Austrian, French (Alsatian) and English descent and an Aztec Mexican father. I claim most of the western world as my heritage. I resent the boxes that request me to check off which ethnic group I belong to: “White”, check. “Hispanic”, check. There is no box for “All Of The Above”, yet many Americans are that as well. What the hell? Why does this question keep appearing on modern paperwork? Who still has their head that deep in the sand? (*cough* Donald Trump)
I am a third generation Mexican American. My grandparents were from Zusticacan, Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. My father was born in Arizona to Mexican immigrants during the great depression and, despite racism and extreme financial hardship, he attained several University degrees and became a Superintendant of Schools in California. He married a white lady (with a broad heritage of her own) and had children. Several of my dad’s brothers and his sister also helped each other through University, plus they went to war as members of the United States military. In my turn, I completed a University of California degree and am raising a productive American family. We are far from being killers and rapists. These days, as the presidential primary ramps up, wackos like the beloved Donald Trump are trying to garner political followers by appealing to the xenophobic undercurrent of those who have not met me, my family, my neighbors, my region, or anyone like us.
It is nice to meet you. I am the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants… and Austrian immigrants… and Alsatian, English, etc. immigrants. Immigrants immigrants immigrants. We are ALL immigrants. I am a Mexican, Native Daughter of the Golden West and a “White” Daughter of the American Revolution, those daughters who were also daughters of immigrants.
This little bit of writing is to remind myself and other adventure travelers to notice how diverse the various regions of our own country are and to remember that many people simply do not travel, even to other regions of their own country. Those who do travel are in a unique position to be ambassadors for our country’s many regions as if they were other nations. The United States is obviously one nation, but it is absolutely enormous! I’ve been to every state in the union except Alaska and can only observe that, despite the common language and the uniformity of chain restaurants and stores, it could easily be many different countries. Cultures vary dramatically between the geographic regions and if you remember just a blink back in history the southwest actually WAS an entirely different country. It was Mexico.
I’d love it if you would share your own positive global fusion life experience in the comments. It is all in the name of promoting broader understanding of who “we the people” really are.