One of the best reasons to study the past is to see if we can find reasons why we have problems today. In researching for both my books I found that it was very wrong to assume anything for sure about the reasons for violence and for why big lumber companies emerged on top. These are just two examples of how initial assumptions can be very wrong.
In the first case, I thought there had been violence because people like S.P. Storms, founder of Nome Cult Farm, DELIBERATELY forced his way. After I'd studied his letters and reports I came to a very different conclusion. In fact,rather than his own bull headedness or deliberate actions against the Yuki, for example, the tragedy occurred more because he was lied to by the Office of Indian Affairs, especially Superintendent Thomas J. Henley. He thought he had created an Indian reservation in ALL of Round Valley when in reality it was only a "farm" and a much smaller enterprise. My first title was "Vulture's View..." based on Chief Tome-ya-nem's account to Lt. Tassin that was published in 1874. The chief told how after the terrible long Nome Cult March when the Indians lost about a third of their party, the streams ran red with their blood and ravens circled and fed on the dead.
The point is historians often start with one idea in mind but their research can bring them to a different conclusion.