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Maidu Indians

Posted By Dennis Partridge On In California,Native American | No Comments

Maidu. A native term meaning “person.” Also called:

  • Wawdh, Paiute name for all Sacramento River tribes.

Maidu Connections. Formerly considered an independent stock, the Maidu have now been placed in the Penutian linguistic family.

Maidu Location. In the drainage areas of the Feather and American Rivers.

Maidu Subdivisions and Villages

The Maidu are divided, mainly on dialectic grounds, into the Nishinam or Southern Maidu (holding the whole of the American drainage plus that of the Bear and Yuba Rivers), the Northeastern Maidu (on the upper reaches of the North and Middle Forks of Feather River), and the Northwestern Maidu (below the high Sierra, part in the foothills where the South, Middle, North, and West Branches of Feather River converge, and on upper Butte and Chico Creeks and part in the open Sacramento Valley along the lower courses of the same streams).

  • Southern Division:
    • Bamo, southwest of Placerville.
    • Bushamul, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Chapa, between the South and Middle Forks of American River.
    • Chikimisi, on a branch of the North Fork of Cosumnes River.
    • Chuemdu, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Ekele-pakan, west of Placerville.
    • Helto, on an east branch of Feather River.
    • Hembem, on the North Fork of American River.
    • Homiting, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Honkut, on Feather River north of Marysville.
    • Hoko, on Feather River below Marysville.
    • Indak, at Placerville.
    • Intanto, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Kaluplo, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Kapaka, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Kolo-ma, on the South Fork of American River.
    • Kulkumish, at Colfax.
    • Kushna, on the South Fork of Yuba River.
    • Lelikian, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Lidlipa, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Mimal, on Feather River just south of Marysville.
    • Molma, at Auburn.
    • Mulamchapa, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Okpa, on Feather River below Marysville.
    • Ola, on the east bank of Sacramento River above the mouth of Feather River.
    • Oncho-ma, south of Placerville.
    • Opelto, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Opok, on the North Fork of Cosumnes River.
    • Pakanchi, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Pan-pakan, on a south branch of Yuba River.
    • Pitsokut, northwest of American River midway between Auburn and Sacramento.
    • Pulakatu, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Pushuni, northeast of Sacramento.
    • Seku-mni, on the lower course of American River.
    • Shokumimlepi, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Shutamul, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Sisum, on Feather River below Marysville.
    • Siwim-pakan, inland between the Middle and Solakiyu, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Taisida, southeast of Marysville.
    • Talak, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Tomcha, on the east side of Feather River above Marysville.
    • Tonimbutuk, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Tote, on an east branch of Feather River.
    • Tsekankan, at Grass Valley.
    • Tumeli, on the South Fork of American River northeast of Placerville.
    • Usto-ma, east of Grass Valley.
    • Wapumni, near the middle course of Cosumnes River.
    • Wokodot, on a south branch of Yuba River northeast of Grass Valley.
    • Woliyu, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Yalisu-mni, on the lower course of the South Fork of American River.
    • Yamaku, near the junction of the South Fork of American River with the main stream.
    • Yikulme, on Feather River above the junction of Bear River.
    • Yodok, at the junction of the South Fork of American River with the main stream.
    • Yokolimdu, on Bear River below the foothills.
    • Yukulu, on the lower course of the South Fork of American River.
    • Yupu, close to Marysville.
  • Northeastern Division:
    • Hopnom-koyo, on a north branch of Indian Creek.
    • Ko-tasi, north of the middle course of Indian Creek.
    • Nakangkoyo, on the headwaters of the North Fork of Feather River.
    • Oidoing-koyo, on the headwaters of the North Fork of Indian Creek.
    • Silong-koyo, at Quincy.
    • Tasi-koyo, on the middle course of Indian Creek.
    • Yota-moto, on the middle course of Indian Creek.
  • Northwestern Division:
    • Bahyu, on a west branch of the North Fork of Feather River.
    • Bauka, on the west side of Feather River below Oroville.
    • Bayu, on the west side of Feather River below Oroville.
    • Benkiimkilmi, inland between the Middle and North Forks of Feather River.
    • Botoko, on the west bank of Feather River below Oroville.
    • Eskini, on a branch of Sacramento River southeast of Chico.
    • Hoholto, near the lower course of the Middle Fork of Feather River.
    • Kokomo, near the lower course of the Middle Fork of Feather River.
    • Kalkalya, near the lower course of the Middle Fork of Feather River.
    • Konkau, near the lower course of the North Fork of Feather River.
    • Kulayapto, near the lower course of the Middle Fork of Feather River.
    • Michopdo, southeast of Chico.
    • Nim-sewi, northeast of Chico.
    • Ololopa, west of Oroville.
    • Otaki, northeast of Chico.
    • Paki, north of Chico.
    • Tadoiko, south of Chico.
    • Taichida, on the west bank of Feather River below Oroville.
    • Taikus, on a west branch of the North Fork of Feather River, near its lower course.
    • Toto-ma, on the lower course of the North Fork of Feather River.
    • Tsaktomo, at the junction of the Middle and South Forks of Feather River.
    • Tsam-bahenom, near the lower course of the Middle Fork of Feather River.
    • Tsuka, near the South Fork of Feather River.
    • Tsulum-sewi, a considerable distance northeast of Chico.
    • Yauku, northeast of Chico.
    • Yuma, at Oroville.
    • Yunu, east of Chico.

Helto, Toto, Honkut, and Tomcha should perhaps be included in the last division instead of among the Nishinam.
Inhabited sites not included among the above were Hoktem, Kiski, Kphes, Natoma, Tankum, Tsamak, Wesnak, and Wili.

The following list of Northwestern Maidu “districts” or “tribelets” was given to Dr. Kroeber by a Wintun half-breed, who had spent most of his life associated with the Chico Maidii:

  • Shi’da-wi, between Sacramento River and lower Pine Creek.
  • Mu’li, on the Sacramento between Pine and Chico Creeks.
  • Ts’êno or Ch’ê’no, on the west side of the river about opposite the mouth of Chico Creek.
  • Su”nu-si, on the Sacramento from Chico Creek to the Llano Seco or Parrott
  • grant about opposite Jacinto or a couple of miles above.
  • Batsi’, near Jacinto, on the west side, opposite and perhaps including the Llano-Seco grant.
  • Pi’nhuk, the principal settlement, at Butte City, of a tribelet covering a considerable extent of country.
  • Micho’pdo, from Dayton to Chico east of Little Chico Creek.
  • O’da-wi, from Chico City water tank to the foothills and from Edgar slough to Sandy Gulch.
  • E’sken, from Durham to the foothills and Butte Creek to Clear Creek.
  • Shi’udu, from Clear Creek to Feather River and from near Oroville to past Liveoak.
  • Ku’lu, east of Shi’udu from Feather River toward the foothills about as far as the Oroville branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad and from Oroville inclusive south not quite to Marysville.
  • Yu’pu, from the Southern Pacific bridge over the Feather River north of Marysville to about 2 miles south of the city and from a short distance west of the Feather to the foothills (this was a Nishinam village).

Dr. Kroeber (1925) attempts to reconstruct the names of the Nishinam or Southern Maidu tribelets as follows: Following downstream: Yupu (at mouth of Yuba into Feather River), Kochuk or (and) Yokol-Liman-Hokok, Wolok or Ola (at efflux of Feather into Sacramento), Leuchi, Wijuna, Totola or Nawean, Pujune (on American River just above its mouth), Sek or Sekumne, Kadeina and perhaps others up American River, Sama (below Sacramento city). This is incomplete.

Maidu Population. Kroeber (1925) estimates that 9,000 Maidu about the year 1770 would be a liberal estimate; the census of 1910 returned 1,100, and that of 1930 only 93.


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