New books honor California’s American Indians more than ceremonial recognition

My May 31, 2022 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Many of us have been at events in recent days where the person at the podium thanks the Native Americans on whose land the site of the event now stands. It’s clear this is done with good intentions – as a sign of recognition and respect – but the practice often rings a bit hollow to me. ¶ Graeme Wood, writing in the Atlantic, puts the issue more bluntly: “A land acknowledgment is what you give when you have no intention of giving land. It is like a receipt provided by a highway robber, noting all the jewels and gold coins he has stolen.”

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