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Rancho Chico Indians by Annie E. K. Bidwell, edited by Dorothy Hill
Documents written by Annie Bidwell between 1891 and 1913 concerning the Indians located at the Indian Rancheria on Bidwell's ranch, Rancho Arroyo Chico.

About the book

Between the years 1891 and 1913 Mrs. Annie E. K. Bidwell wrote six lengthy documents concerning the Indians located at the Indian Rancheria on John and Annie's ranch, Rancho Arroyo Chico. One document was a letter dated 1891; one was an article in an unknown publication dated October 27, 1892; three documents were prepared as speeches -- two undated, one dated 1906, and one was an interview dated May 12, 1913, with William J. Conway of the Rancheria who gave information about the Indians as learned and verified by Indian elders Jack Frango, Bill Preacher and Chico Tom. Each document contains valuable information concerning early Indian culture that has not been previously published.

It is believed that she prepared these documents for two reasons: at first, to further the rights of Indians by dispensing information about the aboriginal culture of the Indians of the rancheria which was disappearing.

In Mrs. Bidwell's fifty years of association with the Indians of the rancheria, she diligently worked to ease them into the lifestyle of the dominate white population. Later when she saw the loss of early culture by the second and in a few cases the third generation of these Indians and realized the importance of recording information concerning it, she did so from her remembrances and from interviews with elders of the rancheria.

The documents in this book will only be reproduced as closely as possible as she wrote or dictated them. Only occasionally the correction of a typographical error of Mrs. Bidwell's typist, a footnote, or a photograph will be added for the benefit of the reader. The photographs are from the editor's collection unless otherwise noted.

Publicity from Mrs. Bidwell's speeches, letters, and articles may have encouraged ethnographers such as Roland B. Dixon, A. L. Kroeber and Edward S. Curtis to undertake their field work at the rancheria in 1899-1903, 1909-1910 and 1924 respectively. Thanks to the work of the Indian elders, the Bidwells, and early ethnographers' valuable information concerning the aboriginal Maidu Indian life has been obtained and is available. Thanks also go to Bancroft Library, California State Library, and California State Library at Chico for preserving these documents of Mrs. Bidwell and to Bidwell Mansion Association for publishing them thereby adding greatly to the previously available information concerning Rancho Chico Indians. --from introduction by Dorothy J. Hill

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