In Spring of 2009 we were given a “tour of our land” by a descendant of the ancient Nisinam Tribe, the ancestors of the modern Maidu Indians.
With an inherent “eye” for these things, our guide pointed out signs in abundance of these ancient dwellers who called this land home. He was deeply moved by his first walk on our land, and so were we.
He told us that the Nisinam lived for 9,500 years on this land, diminishing as a people from this area around the 1850’s, when the miners took over. From our knowledge of the Yuga Cycles, this would place the beginning of their existence on this land in the descending Satya Yuga.
They numbered about 45 people on this land, in the area of the Village proper, and were a peace-loving people who believed that their world was created by The Great Spirit and it was to such a One that they owed their very existence. Their main communal site was located on top of the school hill, across from the newly constructed Living Wisdom Center.
At first, they were primarily gatherers, who also hunted and fished with spears. They eventually acquired the bow and arrow about 2,000 years ago, which greatly expanded their hunting capabilities. They lived off the natural abundance of the area which was enough to sustain them. In seasons of great food supplies, they would gather enough for up to three years to shield against less abundant times. With the help of our guide, and since then on our own, we have found numerous grinding stones, cooking rocks, and simple tools. Digging up a bed of Ananda carrots has never been so rewarding! This knowledge and awareness has added tremendously to the feeling that this land is sacred.
The population of Ananda Village now numbers over 200 and is no longer sustainable by ancient Maidu methods. Still, the teaching and example of sustainability and stewardship lingers and is of inspiration to creative minds and peace-loving hearts. We have a lot to learn and apply, and, a lot to remember about how to cooperate with Nature and glean Her living secrets.
In Service to those who have gone before and who will come in future,