This article examines how late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U.S. colonists in California constructed an imaginary “Fort Ross Story” alongside a broader attempt to claim the Kashia Pomo homeland of Metini. This settler heritage work at Metini-Ross began in 1892, following the removal of Pomo and Miwok peoples. Fiction and journalism about Russian Fort Ross captured the public imagination with tragic stories of European aristocrats and imperial outposts. Heritage groups such as the Native Sons of the Golden West rebuilt the decaying fort in the mold of these stories. Together, writers and preservationists attempted to conceal the Kashia homeland beneath imagined layers of Russian romance and tragedy. Examining this history reveals the broader role of local heritage work in U.S. settler colonialism and the connections between forced removal and heritage work in California.

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