They Weren’t Pontiacs Or Cherokees Either

Nisenan Datsun414Growing up in Nevada County in the fifties and sixties, we didn’t learn much about the people who lived here before us. Oh, we were taught about the Spanish missionaries and of course, the Gold Rush, but there was precious little information on the native Americans who roamed these hills thousands of years before us. They were lumped into one group known as the Maidu, although they were as different as Sicilians are to Italians.

They were known as the Nisenan, and their story is unfortunately a familiar one in the history of America. Very few survived the onslaught of Europeans, but those who did are working to rebuild their history and culture. Come and learn for yourself this weekend…


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4 Responses to They Weren’t Pontiacs Or Cherokees Either

  1. george rebane says:

    Robert, does your report of the Nisenan effort to “rebuild their history and culture” mean that they seek to recover that which existed, or that a historical and cultural vacuum now exists which they will somehow fill so as to achieve peerage with other native American tribes?

    • Chris Peterson says:

      Not to speak for Bob, but there’s a big difference between the words “rebuild,” and “create” as your comment negatively assumes. The history is there; no one has to fabricate anything. I apologize if I misinterpret your words, but it sure reads that way.

      And you’re spot on, Bob. I don’t remember ever hearing about the Maidu, growing up there, until I visited the dump on the hill above town, and that was in my twenties. The only survivor that anyone in town knew back then had been living alone up there for quite a while. Kind of a sad existence for what was left of a whole indigenous nation.

  2. george rebane says:

    rlc 947am – Thanks for the link Bob. From its reading one can easily conclude that the latest version of Nisenan history will be the result of a politically driven creation. To be clear, that does not make their progress to reassert themselves unique in modern America. Many tribes have and are going through similar exercises.

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