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The Complexities of Labor: A History of San Diego Indians 1770 - 1920

  • Author(s): Bourbois, Julia Logan
  • Advisor(s): Kugel, Rebecca
  • Biggs, David
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation traces the economic and labor trajectory of Luiseno and Kumeyaay people of western San Diego. I argue that while Native labor existed prior to colonization, the institutions of colonialism prompted the gradual adoption of wage labor in family economies and networks of reciprocity within the indigenous communities of Western San Diego. While scholars have noted Native engagement in labor opportunities as a means navigating the pressures of colonization elsewhere in California, few have considered native labor in Southern California beyond their exploitation and victimization in urban spaces. Equally neglected by scholars have been San Diego Indians and their critical role in the economic development of the region. Scholars’ grasp of Luiseno and Kumeyaay past is therefore incomplete. My work aims to fill this important gap while at the same time providing a comparative case study for Native labor, adaption, and culture change among Native populations across California.

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