Hosted by Chester-Lake Almanor Museum Director and local historian Marilyn Quadrio, the History Night program at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Chester on June 27 focused on the native Maidu, with special guest speaker Maidu Elder Frank Mullen.
Mullen, a descendant of Big Meadows Maidu, presented an overview of elements of Maidu culture and history, including the role of healers; traditional beliefs; conflicts with the “Mill Creeks” or Yahi and Yana peoples; and the difficulty in maintaining Maidu spiritual beliefs as they lose the elders who are the last native speakers of the Maidu language.
The traditional form of the annual spring Bear Dance is changing, but not the Maidu love of gaming.
Mullen shared his own gaming pieces, made from deer leg bone, as he described the “Grass Game,” and told his audience about the modern version now played in many Indian casinos.
Following a discussion of the forced cultural assimilation practiced in government-run Indian schools around the country, Mullen entertained his audience with tales of his own assimilation into the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of the Korean War, and his experiences overseas in Japan and Korea.
Due to the large attendance at History Night events, all future events will be held in the Memorial Hall in Chester at 6 p.m. The next History Night on Thursday, July 11, will cover the Gold Rush and the founding of Seneca Township