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There’s one major aspect of the popular Gold Rush lore that few Californians today know about: during that period, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000, much of the decline from state-sponsored slaughter. Addressing the aftermath of colonization and historical trauma, two leading scholars explore the miraculous legacy of California Indians, including their extensive contributions to our culture today. Join us for a conversation with Greg Sarris, scholar/author and Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria in northern California, and UCLA historian Benjamin Madley, author of the groundbreaking study: An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873.

Join us for a post-program reception in the Library’s courtyard!

Benjamin Madley

Benjamin Madley is an historian of Native America, the United States, and colonialism in world history. Born in Redding, California, Madley spend much of his childhood in Karuk Country near the Oregon border where he became interested in the relationship between colonizers and indigenous peoples. He earned a Ph.D. in History at Yale University and writes about American Indians as well as colonization in Africa, Australia, and Europe. His first book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, the Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide, and the Heyday Books History Award among many others.


Greg Sarris

Greg Sarris received his Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, where he was awarded the Walter Gore Award for excellence in teaching.  He has published several books, including Grand Avenue, an award-winning collection of short stories, which he adapted for an HBO miniseries and co-executive produced with Robert Redford.  He is serving his thirteenth elected term as Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.  Formerly a full professor of English at UCLA, and then the Fletcher Jones Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Loyola Marymount University, Greg now holds the position of Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Endowed Chair of Sonoma State University, where he teaches a number of courses in Creative Writing, American Literature, and American Indian Literature.


Main Image: Members of the Round Valley Indian Tribe retrace the 1863 route of the Nome Cult walk, a forced relocation of Indians from Chico, Calif., to Covelo, CA. (United States Forest Service)

Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.


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