Winter Pit Houses / Earth Lodges: The more permanent winter homes of the Maidu consisted of villages of rectangular, semi-subterranean winter homes that were set about three feet into the ground. The pit house was constructed of dirt sidewalls, wood end walls and a pitched roof. The Maidu winter houses had a central fire pit. An opening in the roof allowed the smoke to escape and also let light and air in.
What clothes did the Maidu men wear?
The clothes worn by the men of the Maidu tribe varied according to the seasons and the weather. During the summer months the men wore a breech cloth or simply went naked. In the winter months warm clothing was needed. Their clothes were made from the hides of animals such as deer (buckskin), elk, squirrel, rabbit and wildcats. The items of Maidu clothing included warm fur robes and cloaks, shirts, wrap-around kilts, mitts and leggings that were decorated with fringes. They wore one-piece moccasins with a front seam whilst hunting or traveling, but went barefoot in the warm weather.
The Maidu Headdress
The ceremonial crown-style headdress of the Maidu, as seen in the above picture, consisted of a flicker quill headband that covered the forehead and was tied at the back. (The flicker bird is a member of the woodpecker family). The Flicker headbands were made from flicker the longest and narrowest wing feathers. These dark pink or yellow feathers were placed side by side and sewn together to form a long headband. These were bordered by dark brown feathers and attached to the head with twined string. Feather hair plumes were added as a separate form of decoration to complete the headdress.
What clothes did the Maidu women wear?
The type of clothes worn by the women of the Maidu tribe included blouses and front and back aprons made of shredded willow bark. Their dress fell to calf length and were belted, fringed. Special clothes were strung with ornaments, tassels and porcupine quills. Twined tule sandals or moccasins covered their feet and in the winter they wore fur robes to keep out the cold.
What food did the Maidu tribe eat?
A staple food of the Maidu were the acorns from the oak trees that provided an abundance of these nuts. The acorns were gathered from the Californian white, black and tan oak trees and the huckleberry oak and the bush chinquapin that grow in the northeastern mountain region. The acorns which were soaked in water or left until they turned black in order to remove the taste of bitter tannic acid. The acorns were then roasted and eaten whole or ground into acorn meal which was used to make bread. Salmon and trout were the main types of fish eaten by the people and hunters supplied meat from deer (venison) and small game such as geese, duck, quail, rabbit and small rodents. Their protein diet was supplements by eating fruits, seeds, nuts, bulbs and roots. Insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars and locusts were baked when fresh meat was scarce. Manzanita berries were used to make a type of cider and wild mint was used to make a type of tea.
What weapons did the Maidu use?
The traditional weapons used by the Maidu tribe included spears, stone ball clubs, knives and bows and arrows.
What was the religion and beliefs of the Maidu tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Maidu tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual idea that all natural objects including animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains and rocks have souls or spirits.
Maidu History Timeline: What happened to the Maidu tribe?
The following history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Maidu timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.
Maidu History Timeline
1830: The first contact of the Maidu with the white Europeans was with fur traders who trapped in their territory working for the Hudson's Bay Company. These men included trappers and explorers such as Peter Skene Ogden, John Work Alexander Roderick McLeod, Michel Laframboise and Francis Ermatinger
1832: Many Maidu people die due to a influenza and malaria epidemics spread by the fur traders
1841: The California Trail opens
1843: The first major migration along the Oregon Trail took place as white settlers traveled west in wagon trains
1846: South Emigrant Road aka the Applegate Trail opens
1848: California is passed to the US with the Treaty of Guadalupe
1848: January 24, 1848: Gold is discovered at Sutter's timber Mill starting the California Gold rush. The Maidu tribal lands were inundated with white gold rush settlers
1848: The white settlers and gold prospectors bring various diseases to the Native Indians who lived in the surrounding areas of the westward trails
1850: California was admitted into the Union
1859: The Chico Creek massacre when white settlers attacked a Maidu camp near Chico Creek in California, killing 40 men, women and children
1863: The Maidu tribe were forced onto the Round Valley Reservation
1870: The Bole-Maru and the Earth Lodge Religion were religious revitalization movements of tribes in north-central California that grew out of the Ghost Dance movement. 'Bole' is a Wintun word and 'Maru' is a Pomo word both referring to the dreams of medicine people.
Maidu History Timeline