CSU, Chico News

Local Historian to Give Lecture on John Bidwell and the Indian Treaty of 1851

Date: 10-13-2011

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

The Department of Political Science, California State University, Chico, will host Professor Emerita Michele Shover as the presenter of an Oct. 21 faculty forum, “John Bidwell and the 1851 Indian Treaty Meeting.”

The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be held 4–6 p.m. in Ayres 120. A reception will follow in the Turner Print Museum and the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, both located in the Meriam Library Complex.

Shover’s field, American political thought, has influenced her exploration of Chico’s 19th century. Author of articles on Chico’s anti-Chinese campaigns, she turned to study Indian-settler conflicts from 1850 to1866. These are the subject of her forthcoming book.

In 1851 John Bidwell assembled three hundred Maidus to meet with a Federal Treaty Commissioner at his ranch where they disagreed about the offer of a reservation east of present-day Chico. While Mountain Maidus considered the reservation a threat, it appealed to Valley Maidus. John Bidwell made the local treaty possible; then, a month after Indians signed it, he turned all his influence to defeat it in the U.S. Senate.

"Research in Meriam Library’s Special Collections National Archives documents and Maidu oral history provided access to one of the most dramatic events in John Bidwell’s time in Chico," said Shover. "However, he omitted the event from his memoir, speeches, essays and personal papers, so little is known about it."

For more information, contact the Department of Political Science at 530-898-5301.