Maidu (American Indians Ready Reference)
Maidu Indians occupied a large portion of northeastern California. They hunted, gathered, and fished for subsistence. Women and children gathered acorns, grass seed, roots, nuts, and berries. Surplus foodstuffs were dried, ground into flour, and stored in baskets. The Maidu used nets to catch salmon and other fish. Surplus fish were dried whole and ground into a powder that was eaten dry. They hunted deer, bear, elk, rabbit, and geese with bows and arrows, spears, and hunting dogs. Extra meat was dried for winter usage. Fishing and hunting lands were owned by the entire tribe.
Because of the warm climate, the Maidu wore very little clothing. Men might wear deerskin breechclouts or nothing at all; women wore apron skirts decorated with tassels made from the same material. Fur robes and snowshoes were worn in winter. Maidu lived in dome-shaped, semi-subterranean, earth-covered dwellings that housed two to three families. During the summer, flat-roofed shade shelters were constructed with oak branches.
The Maidu believed that mysterious powers and spirits surrounded their world, and superstitions abounded. They depended on their shamans’ mysterious powers and ability to speak to the spirit world. Tribal shamans oversaw political meetings, directed ceremonies, and cured the ill.
European explorers originally came through Maidu territory in the first half of the nineteenth century. A few Hudson's Bay Company trappers later worked in...
(The entire section is 317 words.)
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