Mountain Maidu Allotments: Spaces of Representation and Resistance

Beth Rose Middleton
Native American Studies
UC Davis

Because of the non-ratification of treaties with California tribes, many Mountain Maidu are not politically or spatially recognized, despite their collective presence. Seeking Spatial Representation is an ongoing project with three intended outcomes: (1) an interactive digital map describing the historical and contemporary Maidu allotment lands in Plumas and Lassen counties; (2) a paper map and attached narrative for community members without computer access; and (3) a monograph of the history of Maidu engagement with the General Allotment Act, including Maidu challenges to allotment policy and law, and the interface between Maidu allotments and hydroelectric development in the state of California. Historic Maidu allotments are currently contested by Maidu, power companies, wildlife agencies, non-Maidu home-owners, local government, and other interests. This project employs humanistic methods, including archival research at federal, state, and local archives, historical document review, and photography; and social science methods (open-ended interviews), integrating them with emerging capabilities in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including ArcView and GoogleEarth applications. This unique humanistic-cartographic project is the fruit of several years of community-engaged research on changes in Maidu land ownership, and Maidu and non-Maidu claims to allotment lands.