The Maidu are an American Indian people of northern California. They reside in the central Sierra Nevada, in the watershed area of the Feather and American rivers. They also reside in Humbug Valley. In Maiduan languages, Maidu means “man.”
The Maidus lived in earthen houses. Usually these houses were made from a cone-shaped frame of wooden poles placed over a basement-like hole dug into the ground. Then the frame would be covered with bark and packed with a mound of earth to keep it well insulated.
The Nisenan lived in Northern California, between the Sacramento River to the west and the Sierra Mountains to the east.
The Maidu traded things of all sorts and really beautiful things too. They traded for things like beads, salmon, salt, special stones, pine nuts berries, and fur with the Mountain people they got back bows and arrows, deer skin, and deer hides. Everyone traded wild tobacco.
As with other tribes of California Indians, the Maidu ate seeds and acorns and hunted elk, deer, bears, rabbits, ducks, and geese; they also fished for salmon, lamprey eel, and other river life.
Tribes included the Karok, Maidu, Cahuilleno, Mojave, Yokuts, Pomo, Paiute, and Modoc. On the other hand, the mountains that divided the groups made extensive warfare impractical, and the California tribes and clans enjoyed a comparatively peaceful life.
The Miwok people were decimated by the diseases brought by the invaders and subjected to atrocities. Following the short-lived Mariposa Indian War (1850) those who survived were forced on to various reservations.
These Maidu tribes used brush and slabs of bark to build basic shelters called lean-tos. u NEAR WHAT IS now Sacramento, some Nisenan people lived in valleys. They built homes by making a frame of wooden poles. On top of the frame, they added grass or reeds.
Fed by the Colorado River, it dried up sometime before 1700, following one of the repeated shifts in the river’s course. In 1905 a break in a levee created the much smaller Salton Sea in the same location. The Cahuilla lived from the land by using native plants.
This area was and is still the tribal land of the Nisenan people (my side of the river) located throughout the central valley, the Foothills and Southern Maidu people, and the Valley Miwok and Me-Wuk people, located on the east side of the American River, known to tribal people as the “Mokelumne” or Condor River.
The staple food of the Nisenan was the nut of the oak tree, the acorn. Valley and Blue oak acorns were favorites and plentiful, but the Black oak acorns were prized and often traded down from the high foothills. Acorns were very nutritious and could be stored.
Maidu /ˈmaɪduː/, also Northeastern Maidu or Mountain Maidu, is an extinct Maiduan language spoken by Maidu peoples traditionally in the mountains east and south of Lassen Peak in the American River and Feather River river drainages.
Maidu women and girls used milling stones, which were larger than hammer stones, to pound the acorns into meal. They also used a wooden or stone stick, called a pestle, and a rounded stone or wooden object, called a mortar, to make the acorn flour. Pounding acorns was hard work and these tools made it a little easier.