Fort Ross
Fort Ross Dialogue 2020 - Digital Atlas

Fort Ross Dialogue 2020 - Digital Atlas

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Day 4: Native American Heritage Commission Digital Atlas

The fourth day of Fort Ross Dialogue was dedicated to the memory of hundreds of thousands of victims to European colonization in California and the profound consequences such conquest has had on Native Californian nations. In particular the panel explores how the experience at Metini/Fort Ross was different for the Kashia Pomo than for most other tribes across the state. 

In 1769, California had over 300,000 people and greater cultural diversity than any other world region of comparable size. By 1900, the population of indigenous Californians had fallen by 90 percent, a demographic holocaust of comparable scale to the impact of atomic bomb attacks on Japanese urban centers in 1945. State leaders have recently signaled the importance of educating the public and future generations about the long history of California’s native people; their near-destruction as a result of genocidal policies; and the resilience and survival of Native California today.

In 2018, supported by funds from the DRAM antitrust settlement, the California Native American Heritage Commission and the Department of Parks and Recreation embarked on an ambitious project to document the experience of the indigenous people of California in the form of an online Atlas. In this presentation, Jason MacCannell introduces features of the Atlas and discusses how the public can use this tool to acquire insights into California’s native heritage and colonial past. 

Opening remarks: Timothy Kelly, President of Fort Ross Conservancy 


  • Dr. Jason MacCannell, Special Assistant to the Director California Department of Parks & Recreation (State Parks)
  • Kaylee Pinola, graduate student and Kashia Pomo tribal member from Fort Ross / Metini
  • Bob Sam, Councilman For Sitka Tribe of Alaska

From Timothy Kelly: “Fort Ross – a place that no matter where you come from, it demands that we think about the wider world, that we remember how complex, and courageous, and creative, and connected our species really is.”

From Jason MacCannel: “In California from 1769 to 1900 about  90% of the indigenes population was lost…  California’s indigenous people have rebounded, their numbers are now about the same as before contact. There are 170 tribes of California natives in contact with the state’s native heritage commission. 

The survival of the people and the tribes of California, that is the reason we have this whole atlas rather than just the layer reflecting the  genocide. I wanted to show how the peoples of these ancient civilizations were more than victims, are much more than victims. and to give tribes their own voice and not perpetuate the myth that these people belong to the past.”