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(mī`do͞o), Native North Americans belonging to the Penutian linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). In the early 19th cent. they were located on the eastern tributaries of the Sacramento River. Maidu culture was typical of the California area: the people lived in brush shelters, gathered acorns, and practiced the spirit-impersonating Kuksu religion. Of the three divisions of the Maidu—valley, foothill, and mountain groups—the valley group, or Nisenan, were the most prosperous and culturally developed. The Maidu numbered about 9,000 in the late 18th cent. In 1990 there were some 2,000 Maidu in the United States, most of them living on several reservations in California with other Native American groups.


See A. L. Kroeber, Valley Nisenan (1929); R. L. Beals, Ethnology of the Nisenan (1933).

References in periodicals archive ?
In Maidu tradition, language was one of the first gifts that Earthmaker gave to the beings he created.
To know the Maidu language is to be, irrefutably, Maidu.
Holbrook has a multitude of interests-he wants to move on to the University of California and study both digital media and field linguistics-and his work on the Maidu language often comes second to his other projects and responsibilities.
Recently, Holbrook has been videotaping Shipley delivering a series of lessons in Maidu grammar, which he hopes to use to teach the language to Maidu teenagers.
LAST NOVEMBER, Holbrook and I traveled up to Maidu country.
Ogle, whose mother and grandmother refused to teach her Maidu on the grounds that she would never need it, says she'll always remember her grandmother's reaction when Shipley first arrived at the house in Paynes Creek and explained that he wanted to learn it.
ACROSS THE ROAD from the old Mission School was a small green house, the home of a Maidu elder named Letha Peck and her son Ennis, a well-known beadwork artist and basket maker.
Ives is in her 80s and learned Maidu from her mother.
A small man with merry brown eyes, bristly black eyebrows, and a baseball cap emblazoned with a picture of a buffalo and the words "Native Veteran," Merino teaches the occasional Maidu language class, mainly focusing on individual words and phrases.
I could picture the remaining speakers of Maidu spread out over the mountains like pieces of a puzzle, each hoarding his or her own segment of the language.
One of the few Maidu who can speak it conversationally is Farrell Cunningham, a young man not much older than Holbrook.