There are contradictions as I write about the Napa land and my ancestors’ relationship with genocide. One of them is in our language—the word “settle,” the idea of settling and the settler. There may be hidden potential in that word, a way to heal.
When I started this book, the term “settler” filled me with shame. It evoked my great, great grandfather, Nathan Coombs, the one who came here in the early 1840s, before the gold rush in California, before statehood. The Bear Flagger who was so successful in buying and […]