January 16, 2011

Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California


The Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California originally lived in northeastern California’s mountain meadows and valleys. Today the Maidu’s descendants live on small reservations in California or in communities near these reservations. One of these is the Enterprise Rancheria.

Official Tribal Name: Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California

Address:  2133 Monte Vista Ave., Oroville, California 95966

Phone:   (530) 532-9214
Fax: (530) 532-1768

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Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

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Region: California

State(s) Today: California

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Confederacy: Maidu


In a treaty signed by the Maidu and federal officials, ancestral Maidu lands were signed over in exchange for the safety of a reservation. The government failed to honor this treaty and ordered soldiers to remove the Maidu from reservation lands. One hundred and sixty-one Maidu were forcibly marched from their reservation to Round Valley in northern California. During this march thirty-two people died.

Reservations: Enterprise Rancheria
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Maidu clothing reflected the temperate climate of this region. Men wore buckskin breechcloths, and occasionally no clothing at all. Maidu women wore double-sided buckskin aprons or aprons made of woven plant materials, and basket-like caps. Women also wore leggings and grass-insulated moccasins in the winter. Robes of bearskin, deerskin or mountain lion were also worn in winter.


Maidu women pierced their ears, while the men pierced their noses.


Shelter for the Maidu Indians depended upon where they lived. Those living in the foothills built earth-covered houses, while those who lived in the mountains built cone-shaped dwellings covered with bark. When they were away from their villages on hunting trips, the Maidu constructed temporary shelters covered with grass and twigs.

Small settlements were built close together to form villages. A network of foot trails connected the villages. A ceremonial lodge was constructed in the largest and most central of the villages.


Hunter/Gatherers – The Maidu indians collected great quantities of acorns that they dried and made into flour. During the salmon spawning season they netted or speared, dried and stored enough of the fish to last them most of the year. While the men hunted deer, elk, bear, geese, ducks and quail during the year, the women collected seeds, nuts, berries and wild plants. Maidu men also collected wild tobacco to smoke during special ceremonies.

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In 1844, most of the land to which the Maidu were native was given in a grant to a white settler who was a cattle rancher. The cattle destroyed the Maidu’s food sources, and many died of hunger. More Maidu people perished during smallpox epidemics brought to the area by white gold miners. Survivors of the epidemics resorted to eating livestock in order to prevent starvation. White settlers hunted down members of this group and killed them.

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