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NCC: Big Changes for a Traditional Culture: Colonizing the Lower Yuba Watershed 1821-1851

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Apr 18, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
NCC Campus N12 (Multipurpose Center)
250 Sierra College Dr., Grass Valley, CA 95945
Free and open to the public
Jason Guiliani,, (530) 274-5275

NCC Sierra Science Series welcomes Tanis Thorne and Hank Meals for the April presentation

Event Details

Event held at Sierra College

The Sierra Science Series at the Nevada County Campus welcomes Dr. Tanis Thorne and Hank Meals in a presentation titled: Big Changes for a Traditional Culture: Colonizing the Lower Yuba Watershed 1821-1851. The presentation will be held on Tuesday evening, April 18, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Multipurpose Center, building, N-12. Come early and enjoy a meet-and-greet and refreshments at 6:00 pm. 

Traditional Nisenan lifeways began changing rapidly in the early nineteenth century when cattle, horses and new grassland plants appeared followed by Indian fugitives from the coastal missions. Then in 1833 a pandemic on the Sacramento and Feather Rivers decimated most of the large sedentary Nisenan villages and sent even more refugees into the foothills. White colonizers first appeared as fur trappers, then as entrepreneurs claiming land “given” to them as Mexican Land Grants. Beginning In 1848 hordes of Euro-Americans arrived searching for gold. The miners had no respect for existing practices and were completely dismissive of native culture.

Despite resistance and negotiation the Nisenan finally signed the Camp Union Treaty with the United States in 1851. The provisions of the treaty were ignored, and Congress never ratified the treaty.

How did the Nisenan adapt to these massive changes in traditional land use practices and social organization? How come after all they have experienced, they’re still here? These are the questions that Tanis Thorne and Hank Meals have been researching for years. How has science helped or in some instances, hindered their investigation?

About our Presenters:

Dr. Tanis ThorneTanis Thorne: Raised in Southern California, Tanis C. Thorne completed her Ph.D. in U.S. History at UCLA in 1987. Her thesis on French-Indian families in the fur trade on the Lower Missouri inspired a lifelong career researching, writing, and teaching about Native Americans, especially California Indians. For twenty-five years before retiring in 2015, she taught Native American courses at the University of California Irvine. She now resides full-time in Nevada City, where she had owned a home for thirty years. She is currently collaborates with Hank Meals on the Nisenan.Nisenan  

Hank MealsHank Meals: Hank Meals received his BA in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and pursued graduate coursework at University Nevada Reno and California State University Chico. He has worked extensively with the US Forest Service as an archaeologist and historian with numerous internal publications related to state of the Yuba Watershed. He has been involved with recording, evaluating and creating interpretive guides for several historic sites throughout the gold country. Hank is currently is a self-employed archaeologist, historian, photographer, and author of numerous hiking books in the Yuba watershed.Lower Yuba Watershed

This presentation is free, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. The Nevada County Campus is located at 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Parking is $3 on campus and permits can be purchased at the kiosk machine at the main entrance to the campus. For more information about this presentation and others in this series, contact the series coordinator, Jason Giuliani at:

Sponsored by: Nevada County Sierra Science Series

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