The Atsugewi were Native Americans residing in what is now northern California, United States, in the vicinity of Mount Shasta, specifically the along the Hat Creek. They were closely related to the Achomawi, who lived to their south.
According to Unification teaching, the North American continent was hidden away by God, preserved for the time when the providence of restoration would come to fruition and the Kingdom of Heaven could be built upon the earth. The American Indians were the caretakers of this land, guided by God in their ways. The European descent upon America was part of God's destiny, however, the mindset with which they expanded their territory was self-centered. There should have been harmony between them and the natives. Certainly the native people, who knew the land intimately, could help the new settlers survive and prosper. Unfortunately, arrogance led the Christian whites to view the "Indians" as savages who needed saving; thus, the harmonious relationship that was meant to be did not take hold.
The Atsugewi lived a relatively peaceful albeit difficult life prior to European contact. They traded with neighboring tribes, bartering so that each group had sufficient resources to meet their needs. They were especially industrious, and prized wealth. They also believed that the spirit world could help them in their hard work and to become wealthy, a mindset that is similar to that of the Protestant "work ethic." When Europeans first arrived, they were able to relate to them through trade. However, the California Gold Rush of 1849 disturbed their traditional lifestyle, bringing mining and other activities that took their lands and led to conflicts as well as diseases such as smallpox that ravaged their population. Finally, reservations were established and the surviving Atsugewi were forced to relocate there.
Today, remaining Atsugewi live on or close to their ancestral homelands. They suffered much when the Europeans came to their lands, losing everything—as well as the loss of life, for those who survived they lost their material wealth and the opportunity to work freely to attain wealth. Today, they have regained some level of autonomy. It can be hoped that their qualities of hard work and spiritual sensitivity can guide not only them but the wider society to achieve a way of life in harmony with God's creation.