Tour Locations | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
LOCATION 19 | The Modoc War: A Homeland Lost
Continue Straight On 39/140
You should now be passing over a canal and seeing signs for 140. Continue straight on the road you've been traveling on for a bit, while we take a moment to reflect.
The toll of the Ben Wright massacre was devastating for such a small population. An ethnologist in the early 20th century estimated that the pre-contact population of the Modoc was 480 people, meaning that in a matter of minutes, 8-10% of the entire population could have been wiped out by Wright and his men. The Modoc have no written language, so it's difficult to capture the impact of losing so many individuals and their collective knowledge, with memorized culture, customs, music and medicine, among so many other things. So much was lost in that raid beyond just the lives themselves.
As I mentioned, one of the survivors was Schonchin John, the younger brother of Old Schonchin who began negotiating with the US government to transfer the Modoc to the Klamath reservation. But John, with memories of the Ben Wright massacre still burned into his psyche. He would ultimately help push the Modoc on a different path - with the help of a new generation of Modoc warriors just coming of age.