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'A California Indian Creates,' 'Indians by the Golden Gate,' and 'Sir Francis Drake-1579'

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bayareamuseums's items37 of 74'Conquistadors Discover the Pacific,' and 'Monks Building the Mission'Rincon Post Office
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    Posted 13 years ago

    (74 items)

    In the Rincon Center in San Francisco, which I went to today (it is just a block from my office!) there is a series of 27 murals that course through time telling the story of California, if not all of humanity. It begins with Native Americans and ends after World War II.

    The muralist responsible for the series is Russian Anton Refreger (1905-1979). Refreger was commissioned as part of the New Deal in 1941, and he completed them in 1948 after the War. Some of the murals had to be changed because of the fear of communism--muralists were forced to try and be non-radical, though some socialist and populist themes find there way into these murals.

    Each comes with a description, which I will transcribe, in order for you here.

    1. California Indian Creates: "Indians have inhabited California for centuries. Some experts believe they settled here as many as 30,000 years ago. Various archaeological expeditions and digs have discovered prehistoric artifacts such as bones, shell mounds, burial areas and petroglyphs to support their theories. Approximately 105 distinct nations or tribes of Indians once existed in California. They spoke over 100 different dialects which were rooted in five basic languages."

    2. Indians by the Golden Gate: "All early European explorers record meeting with the Indians. As many as 300,000 Indians may have populated the state in 1769, the year they first encountered white settlers. By 1870, due to general mistreatment, massacres, disease, dispossession, and other indignities, the population of California Indians had shrunk to about 58,000. Northern California tribes included the Madoc, Pmo, Wintun, Hupa, Yana, Yuki, and Yurok.

    3. Sir Francis Drake-1579: "Sir Francis Drake, an English navigator and privateer, set sail from Plymouth in 1577 on a voyage around the world. According to accounts of that voyage, Drake landed in a California harbor in June of 1579. he stayed for 36 days during which time he had good relations with the Indians, repaired his ship, claimed the land for Queen Elizabeth of England, naming it Nova Albion. The precise location of Drake's landing is not known. Various theories suggest it may have been Bolinas Bay, Drake's Bay, the Marin side of San Francisco Bay, Bodega Bay, or Point Reyes."

    While I'm confused as you are on how #2 can say Indians first encountered whites in 1769 yet #3 says Drake was with Indians in 1579... Hmmm...

    Part of my trip to Rincon Center. For more on New Deal Post Office murals, check out this website:

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