Lee Heidhues 10.4.2022
AMERICAN MASSACRES – UC COLLEGE OF LAW SAN FRANCISCO EDITION
The arrogance of White Americans in denying their brutal racist history continues.
No sooner did Governor Newsom sign legislation changing the name of UC Hastings from one which honored a landowner who sponsored massacres against Native Americans did heirs of Serranus Hastings file a lawsuit.
Rather than acknowledge the family’s history in crimes against Californian’s original inhabitants these Entitled people want compensation for the crimes of their forbear.
Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 10.4.2022
Days after Gov. Gavin Newson signed a bill to reverse an 1878 law requiring that UC Hastings College of the Law forever keep its founder’s name — or the state must repay descendants $100,000 plus interest — six family members sued on Tuesday to get their money back.
Historians say that Hastings, a wealthy rancher who was angry at cattle thieves, petitioned the government for militias to carry out the massacres.
“There’s no denying there were atrocities against the Native people,” plaintiff Scott Hastings Breeze of Oregon, Serranus Hastings’ great-great-great grandson, said at San Francisco Superior Court.
“Serranus Hastings petitioned the government for militias for protection” for his cattle. “There’s no direct proof” that he committed crimes, he said.
Besides, “it was a different world in 1860.”
The suit rejects the claim that the founder was a racist who sponsored massacres of Native people. It says that unless the state keeps the name, it must pay up.
Descendants of the Round Valley and Yuki tribes massacred during the 19th century participated in the process.
“This was done fairly and justly,” said Nikcole Whipple, secretary of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, Yuki Committee formed in 2020 to work with the school on a name change. Although the Yukis chose Powe’ N’om, meaning “one people,” as their preferred name, “we most definitely opposed ‘Hastings,’” Whipple said.
If California persists in removing Hastings’ name from the law school on Jan. 1, the interest rate would be an annual 7%, family and supporters said Tuesday at a press conference outside San Francisco Superior Court.
After 144 years, California would owe Serranus Hastings’ descendants more than $1.7 billion, The Chronicle calculated. That’s a lot of money, even if it were split among countless Hastings descendants. But the family members who filed the lawsuit said they’d be happy just keeping the name “Hastings.”
Their suit accuses the state and the Hastings directors of breaching the 1878 contract and seeks an injunction to stop the name change. One of the Hastings directors is himself a great-great grandson of Hastings, and voted this summer to get rid of the name.
Harmeet Dhillon, the family’s lawyer, said that Hastings, who was also the first chief justice of the California Supreme Court, has been the victim of “hit pieces.”
Top photo – Governor Gavin Newsom, surrounded by California Native Americans signs legislation renaming UC Hastings the UC College of Law