California Gold Rush

January 14, 1998

Gold was discovered in California 150 years ago. Today the legacy of thatfateful event is being re-examined, particularly by environmentalists andNative Americans. Many of them say that the se-centennial is not an eventto be celebrated, but rather one to be mourned.

California’s golden heritage came at a price of enormous environmentaldegradation and the genocide of thousands of Native Americans. Mercuryused to leach out gold fills the state’s waterways and poisons thoseunlucky enough to come in contact with it.


  • Pratap Chatterjee, investigative writer doing research for ProjectUnderground.
  • Jim Brown, Tribal spokesperson and member of the tribal council of the Elemtribe of Pomo Indians. Brown can be reached via e-mail at

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