"Washington is a Long Way Off": The "Round Valley War" and the Limits of Federal Power on a California Indian Reservation
Kevin Adams, Khal Schneider

Abstract

In 1887 the Office of Indian Affairs requested that the Army evict the handful of white trespassers who claimed over 90 percent of the Round Valley Reservation in Northern California. The trespassers turned to local courts to block their evictions, and a county judge dispatched the Mendocino County sheriff to arrest the federal officer who persisted with his orders. The ensuing "Round Valley War" shows that, although elites associated with Indian affairs took federal supremacy on Indian Reservations for granted, and while historians have also tended to treat the West, and "Indian Country" in particular, as a domain where federal prerogatives reigned supreme, in the aftermath of the Civil War anti-statism and Democratic localism presented effective counterclaims to the coercive power of the federal state.

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