The secularized Mission San Jose became a parish church with no more temporal control over the Indians in 1836. The Indians scattered to work on the ranchos and at the Pueblo of San Jose. Some more recent recruits went back to their tribes in the Central Valley, some formed communities around Mount Diablo. On a rancheria in Pleasanton, called Alisal, Indians from different tribes preserved their customs and traditional religious practices for many years.
When the Gold Rush began, it transformed California from a slow-paced Mexican territory to an American state. Although the Indians controlled most of the inland area, thousands of miners invaded these traditional lands and decimated the tribes. California, which entered the Union as a free state in 1850, passed laws which allowed Indians to be enslaved by any white man. Children and young women were taken and sold as servants. Not until 1863, well into the Civil War period, was the so-called "Act for the Protection of the Indians" repealed.
There were 242,000 Indians in California in 1990, more than 80,000 of them California natives. Most live in urban areas, but many are still part of over 100 traditional communities.
The traditional Tatcan, Seunen and Souyen tribes of the San Ramon Valley are no more. The artifacts unearthed next to creeks by bulldozers and the bedrock mortar holes on Mount Diablo remind us that a culture of great antiquity existed in this Valley just 250 years ago.
Lowell J. Bean, “Indians of California: Diverse and Complex Peoples” in the California History magazine, titled Indians of California. (California Historical Society, Fall 1992)
Randall T. Milliken, An Ethnohistory of the Indian People of the San Francisco Bay Area from 1770 to 1810 (Berkeley: Dissertation, 1991).
-------, A Time of Little Choice The Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area 1769-1810 (Menlo Park: Ballena Press, 1995)
Bev Ortiz, " Mount Diablo As Myth and Reality, An Indian History Convoluted," American Indian Quarterly (Fall, 1989)
Written by Beverly Lane to accompany the 1992 exhibit mounted by the Museum of the San Ramon Valley: THEY CAME FIRST. Edited 2019