Imagine an encounter in California in about 1880 between four people: African slave, a Chinese labourer, a German who had come out in the Gold Rush, and a native of the Hopi tribe, and narrate their conversation.
If a former African slave, a Chinese labourer, a German who had come out in the gold rush and a native of the Hopi tribe were to encounter each other in California in about 1880, what their conversation would seem like is mentioned below.
The Chinese labourer would narrate about the contribution of the Chinese labour to the economic development of California and the West. Many industries relied heavily on Chinese labour. They came without their families and if they continued working, they might never see their families again. If they returned to China, a life of poverty awaited them. He would speak of some fellow Chinese who were hired to level roadbeds, bore tunnels and blast mountain sides for railroad construction. He would recount how many of his kinsmen fell prey to numerous diseases and died due to their lack of faith in western medicines and lack of knowledge of the Chinese doctors. He would speak of the days when he used to be active in the service trades. Many Chinese men found themselves doing work that was considered women's work in both China and the United States. They worked in occupations that served non-Chinese, such as servants and laundrymen and in occupations that crossed racial borders, such as that of cooks in homes, cafes and restaurants.
The German would tell stories about how one day he discovered gold while constructing his sawmill along the American River. He performed primitive tests to confirm whether it was the precious metal and concluded that it was, in fact, gold. However, he was very anxious that the discovery does not disrupt his plans for construction and farming. bl. He would woefully recount how his attempt at keeping the gold discovery quiet failed when the merchant and newspaper publicized the find. Large crowds of people overran the land and destroyed nearly everything he had worked for. He would recall how there was a feverish migration of workers to an area that has had a dramatic discovery of gold deposits. Large number of Americans migrated and settled in California to mine for gold. The gold rush was seen as a ‘free for all’ income option. While gold mining itself was unprofitable for him, he made large fortunes by turning merchant and providing transportation facilities.
The ex-African slave would talk about chattel slavery that existed in the United States of America. He would tell how slavery had been practiced in British North America from early colonial days, and was recognized in the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence. When the United States was founded, the status of slavery was largely limited to those of African descent. A system and legacy was created in which race played an influential role. Abolitionist laws and sentiment had spread in the Northern states only after the Revolutionary War,while the rapid expansion of the cotton industry led to the Southern states strongly identifying with slavery. While accounting for the Civil War, which caused a huge disruption of Southern life, many slaves either escaped or were liberated by the Union's armies.The slave would let out a sigh of relief to state that the war effectively ended slavery, before the Thirteenth Amendment formally outlawed the institution throughout the United States.
The Hopi tribesman would remember the day the first formal meeting between the Hopi and the U.S government occurred in 1850. Seven Hopi leaders made the trip to Santa Fe to meet the government representative. They wanted the government to provide protection against the Navajo, an Apachean-language tribe, but distinct from other Apache. The U.S. government established Fort Defiance to deal with their threats to the Hopi. After the defeat of the Navajo, the Hopi enjoyed a short period of peace. The Hopi have always viewed their land as sacred. Agriculture is a very important part of their culture and their villages are spread out across the northern part of Arizona. They never had a conception of land being bounded and divided. They lived on the land that their ancestors did. Even after reservation by the U.S. government, they had to fight with the Navajo over the right to land as they had different models of sustainability. He would speak about the Hopi being one of the original natives of America and how they survived throughout the period of colonization. He would talk about his faith in Christianity and how his people came to believe in it only after a father supposedly restored a child’s sight by touching a cross to his head.