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After World War I, Indian and white advocacy groups proliferated, and reforms were instituted in the areas of health, education, and welfare.Indians gained a body of basic legal rights in 1928.
Deaths from disease were doubly killing: Since the Pomo attributed illness to human causes, as did many native peoples, the epidemics also brought a concurrent rise in divisive suspicions and a loss of faith in traditions.
Toward this end, they established rancherias (settlements) and worked as cheap migrant agricultural labor, returning home in winter to carry on in a semitraditional way.
By 1900, however, Pomos had lost 99 percent of these lands through foreclosure and debt.
A bad situation worsened for the Pomo after 1849, when Anglos flooded into their territory, stealing their land and murdering them en masse.
Survivors were disenfranchised and forced to work for their conquerors under slavelike conditions. In 1856, the Pomo were "rounded up" and forced to live on the newly established Mendocino Indian Reserve.
Pomol, a group of seven culturally similar but politically independent villages or tribelets.
This Pomo word means roughly "those who live at red earth hole," possibly a reference to a local mineral.
A key Supreme Court decision in 1907 recognized the rancherias as Indian land in perpetuity.
More Pomo children began going to school; although the whites kept them segregated, the people mounted legal challenges designed to win equal access.
The remaining population were viewed with hatred by most whites, who practiced severe economic and social discrimination against them.
This situation provided fertile ground for Ghost Dance activity and the Bole-Maru (dreamer) cult, an adaptive structure that may have helped ease their transition to mainstream values.
Members observed ceremonies in colder months to encourage an abundance of wild plant food the following summer.