Sierra College Presents Footprints in the Foothills

Grass Valley, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Sierra College
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Sierra College Sierra Science Series Presents

Footprints in the Foothills:

An Attempt to Map the Trails of the Indigenous Population

By Hank Meals and Tanis Thorne

The Sierra Science Lecture Series at the Nevada County Campus welcomes Hank Meals and Tanis Thorne in a presentation titled: Footprints in the Foothills: An Attempt to Map the Trails of the Indigenous Population. 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.

The Nisenan, Washo and the unnamed peoples who preceded them were sophisticated and knowledgeable about the geography of the Yuba River and Bear Creek watersheds and fully engaged in the management of their habitat to fit their needs. By mapping known settlements, archaeological sites, ethnographic information and oral histories, we hope to demonstrate the complexity of the trail network that accessed resources, enabled trade and maintained alliances between different communities. When the Europeans and Americans arrived with a very different attitude about land use the native people had to quickly adapt and reorganize to survive. We feel that an annotated spatial representation of the movements of the indigenous population can provide insight and information on the connectivity between early indigenous settlements and camps, the activities that occurred there and the major changes that came with the gold rush.

About our Presenters:

Tanis 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 collaborating with Hank Meals on the Nisenan.

Hank 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.

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:

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to meet the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at