The Maidu were a peaceful tribe. They did not make war on other tribes, although there were occasional skirmishes with the Pit River Indians to the north or the Washo to the east. There were usually isolated incidents set off by renegades or overly adventurous hunters. The Maidu also endured numerous raids by the Mill Creeks. The population of the Northern Maidu before contact with Euro-Americans was estimated at about 4,000. Their population was greatly reduced by the malaria epidemic of northern California in the years 1830-1833.
Small Pox & White Settlers
To make matters worse, the arrival of miners in 1850 brought diseases and other factors that continued to reduce the Maidu population. In the 1880s, smallpox took a heavy toll on the remaining Maidu. Their population rapidly diminished, and in 1962, the number of Native Maidu was estimated at only 300-400 people. There was no organized resistance to the arrival of white settlers. For the most part, the Maidu were quietly compelled to accept white civilization and technology. Many were employed as farm hands by white ranchers or as laborers in the gold mines.
Resources Available on Northern Maidu
Numerous publications, photos, a video, and displays are available at the Plumas County Museum. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Northern Maidu of Plumas County, please call the Plumas County Museum at (530) 283-6320.