The Maidu were divided into villages each containing two to eleven houses, and almost always a sweat lodge (a larger house in which ceremonies and dances were held.) The mountain Maidu typically only interacted with villages within a twenty-mile radius of them, only occasionally trading with the Northern Paiute, but there is evidence that the valley Maidu may have traveled farther, visiting other tribes such as the Pomo, Wintun and Miwok. The Maidu received their money, clamshells and glass beads, solely from trade; the beads were counted in tens and handled on strings. But the most common form of currency was the disk bead made by the Pomo, and transmitted by the Wintun. Five of the larger version of these beads (about a third of an inch thick) equaled about one dollar in today’s currency, and the smaller ones were about twenty beads to the dollar. In Maidu culture, money was more of a casual thing than it is today, it was traded with other tribes to acquire such valuables as obsidian for knifes and arrows, as well as tobacco and the green pigment used for bow decoration. However there was no real feeling of ownership, at least not in an individual sense. A person’s house belonged to the tribe, as well as anything that they might gather. Everything was in reference to the tribe, and a person’s identity was in terms of the tribe. This is reflected in the view of Maidu warriors,
The foremost responsibility of an Indian warrior is to be true to one's self (...) to the People (...) and to the Creator. The purpose in life is to ensure the survival and well being of The People (…) A true Warrior will sacrifice His Heart upon the altar of life for the survival of the People (…) A true Indian Warrior is Proud (...) yet humble, with a heart full of love for the People. (Schneider, “What is a
Therefore, a very different view, that that of an individual. The tribe was the each person, and each person was the tribe.
There were however, different roles that individuals played in the tribe. Such as the Warriors, who hunted game such as deer, wild dog, wolfs, coyotes, large birds, salmon, rabbit and on occasion grizzly bear. They also went to battle with other tribes when necessary, and defended the tribe from wild animals. There were also Shamans who were the spiritual teachers and guides of the tribe, and Chiefs who acted in conjunction with Shamans when it came to decisions about the tribe. The specific role a chief played in the tribe varied according to the region. In the valley, the line of chiefs was hereditary. A chief also received a larger part of game brought in for the tribe and sometimes even had young men hunt for them specifically. The hill and mountain Maidu choose their chief for his wealth and popularity. In these areas by popular vote, a chief could be disposed of at any time if the people in anyway saw...