California – Museum Experience

By Kate Bautista

Our time at Chapa-de was very impactful, but it left us all pretty exhausted from the sheer amount of activities we had done. Saturday was a time for rest…but we didn’t stop learning! The program manager of Sierra Native Alliance Loren Nakai highly recommended visiting the Maidu Museum in Roseville. After sleeping in and eating waffles in our pajamas instead of professional clothes, a van load of people headed to the museum. 

The Nisenan Maidu were the people who had lived in this part of California. Native people have free admission to the museum. Inside, they had many different exhibits about California Indian traditional culture and practices, like acorn processing and basket weaving. Acorn processing begins with removing the meat from the shell then grinding it down with a mortar and pestle. It is then leached to remove the tannins. The end product is acorn flour. There were photographs of Lilly and Daisy Baker, who are the last of the elder Maidu Indian basket weavers, working together, side-by-side. The museum also included the history of forced relocation (i.e. the Nome Cult Walk) and the boarding schools that were made to wipe out their culture. It was really amazing to see that exhibit amongst all the other exhibits that showed that the U.S. government’s attempt to erase their culture and practices away had failed.

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