The Trial of "Indian Joe": Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West

By Clare V. McKanna Jr. | Go to book overview

lived in spare rooms in the houses, or sometimes in the barns, of the families who employed him, and never had a home of his own.

In nineteenth-century California, whites, many of whom perceived Native peoples as a threat, controlled the criminal justice system. California Indians, who could neither vote nor serve on juries, lived virtually unprotected in a white world. By labeling him “Indian Joe” white members of the local community rhetorically distanced José Gabriel from themselves and marginalized him, making it more difficult to identify and sympathize with the defendant during the trial.

We know very little about José Gabriel; beyond his few words of testimony in the trial transcript, he left neither oral nor written comments about himself or about the crime for which he was charged. Consequently, Gabriel's voice has remained unheard. This book, whatever its shortcomings and weaknesses, is an attempt to allow José Gabriel's voice to be heard at last.

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The Trial of "Indian Joe": Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Trial of “indian Joe” - Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Prologue - Murder on Otay Mesa *
  • 1 - The Prosecution *
  • 2 - The Defense *
  • 3 - The Judge and Jury *
  • 4 - The Crime Scene *
  • 5 - The Illusion of “indian Joe” *
  • 6 - The Scales of Justice *
  • Epilogue - Gabriel'sfate *
  • Appendix - Trial Exhibits *
  • Notes *
  • Selected Bibliography *
  • Index *
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