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DAGUERREIAN UNKNOWN
DAGUERREIAN UNKNOWN

Indian Camp and Powwow, near Auburn, California

Details
DAGUERREIAN UNKNOWN
Indian Camp and Powwow, near Auburn, California
Quarter-plate daguerreotype. Circa 1849. Titled in ink on the reverse of the plate; decorative brass mat; resealed and accompanied by remnants of the original seal.

Lot Essay

The first documented culture to thrive in the Auburn area was the Nisenan Indians, a southern linguistic group of the Maidu Tribe. There were several major Nisenan villages established including the Cullomain village near the area where James Marshall first discovered gold. Unlike the Nisenan tribe of the valley who had been over-run, missionized, killed and controled by the Spanish, the "hill" Nisenan were able to retain their native lifestyle until the discovery of gold, when they were forced from their homes located in prime mining areas.

In an 1848 government report, it was estimated that half the gold diggers were Indians. However, Indians quickly came under the power of the white miners and were exploited as cheap labor. It has been estimated that the Indian population declined by 120,000 between the years of 1845 and 1870, leaving a population of less than 30,000.

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