From native peoples to today’s inhabitants, this anthology collects Delta stories. For native peoples, the Delta satisfied mind, body, and spirit.
For the Spanish recruiting native labor and souls, it was dangerous. The rancheros understood its agricultural worth but suffered when it became the highway to gold.
However, farmers won a prohibition of some mining practices and the right to drain swamps. Levees and transportation improved, but tensions between investors and farmers erupted. Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Portuguese, Italians, Sikh, and Mexicans provided labor and created vibrant settlements.
With outboard motors and prohibition, the Delta became an escape for metropolitan Californians. Then WWII brought the internment of Japanese, military installations, the draft, and the importation of Mexican braceros.
Even before WWII, the Delta was key to water distribution and habitat restoration. After the war, its water was sought for agriculture and cities.
While the Delta’s farms and marinas are valued, its worth as habitat and water conveyance is contested. Responding to trends throughout California, this anthology chronicles unique voices from Delta inhabitants across generations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Robert R. Benedetti is a professor emeritus in political science from the University of the Pacific where he also served as dean of the college and director of the Jacoby Center for Public Service and Civic Leadership. He has recently been a research associate at the Center for California Studies, CSU Sacramento. He co-directed the Delta Narratives project for the Delta Protection Commission which generated historical research on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta toward its designation as a National Heritage Area. He has chaired two state humanities councils, in Florida and California. Professor Benedetti continues research on local governance in California.