Cross-Cultural Encounters in California, 1848-1850

By the mid-19th century the population of the Northeast consisted primarily of English heritage people. The Southeast had a highly stratified society consisting of white farmers and merchants and their African heritage slaves. The West, however, was fast becoming the most ethnically and culturally diverse region on the continent. There, Mexican women (often wives and daughters of ranchers), Native American women and white women who traveled West with their husbands and families faced their own challenges, as well as those created by white expansion.
o Use the primary sources that are noted below.
o Our textbook( Through women’s eyes) has some information about wealthy women. You should read the relevant section in Chapter 5 in order to learn the topic’s historical context. This material will have been assigned for class.

The primary sources for this assignment include documents in Chapter 5 of the textbook:
1. Sarah Winnemucca
2. Eliza Farnham
3. Maria Augustias de la Guerra Ord
4. Zitkala-Sa: Indian Girlhood and Education (Chpt 7)
5. “The Foremothers Tell of Olden Times”
6. Narcissa Whitman (Protestant missionary)

Questions for Analysis:
1. Each of these women writes about her combination of fear and curiosity regarding the strangers she encountered. About what is each curious? What are the different sources of their fear and how does each display or conceal her reactions?
2. What are the women’s sources of strength?
3. What are their roles and responsibilities? How do white settlers adapt to their new homes?
4. In what ways did the arrival of white settlers affect Native Americans and Mexicans?


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