Y is for Yuba

There’s a neat little river in sunny (and dry) CA, the Yuba. Not to be confused with Yuma, that’s in even sunnier and drier Arizona. The Yuba is a river with a long history, the longest belonging to several native American populations. Then came the freight train that was the California gold rush and this river has not been the same ever since. It’s a typical story of resource extraction to build wealth for those who got there in time to risk their time and money on claims of unknown quality. For the most part, the purveyors of jeans and shovels are the ones who made the serious money.

Then came the dam builders and irrigation-loving farmers and agriculture types. They made their own mark on the terrain. Not really any better than the miners.

Today things are calm(er) and relatively stable. We seem not to be repeating the sins of our ancestors. You might even consider that we are trying to undo some of the damage prior generations have wrought. For the most part, it’s too late for the Konkow, Maidu, Nisenan and Miwok. A new wave of diseases pretty much took them out of the picture within a few generations of contact.

While the Golden State pats itself on the back on a regular basis, that state stands on top of the same pile of carnage as the other 49 states do.

Many times I wonder if what we have now is worth what it took to get here?


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