I found the place in Chico where the world was created

“… The raft came ashore at Ta’doik√∂, and the place can be seen today.”

That’s the ending to a story that captured my imagination over 15 years ago in this 2007 post. It’s the creation myth of the Maidu indians, a people that lived in today’s Northern California all along the Sierra foothills, north of Sacramento, south of Redding, centered around Marysville Butte and Chico, CA (The full creation myth is here; I love it.).

Unfortunately according to the Wikipedia page the place Taodoiko has been lost.

Except that I found it, in this 2008 post. The key was in a map from the Handbook of the Indians of California (1967) written by the father of Ursula K. LeGuin, Berkeley anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber.

The key with Maidu (instead of Miwok) names for these places is on page 394 of the book.

With help from some historical maps of the area (in which the stream landmarks haven’t been developed away), that places Tadoiko right between Chico and Durham, CA.

You’d think I would have gone sooner. But I finally made it to the place, now a Walnut Orchard off of Fimple Rd. in Butte County twenty minutes south of Chico. The place where the world was created.

It was special to go. Where it describes thing coming from the North, I can see the north. Where it describes the sun, I could point. As in the story “And all around were mountains, as far as the eye could see.”

Another powerful thing about the piece: The companion to this story of the Earth’s creation is the one of humanity’s creation, which takes place in a different location, Marysville Butte. I’d always treated the like two separate stories but upon going it’s clear that they’re the same: from Tadoiko, Marysville Buttes is one of the most prominent features.

Less powerful of the place is that there’s no sign of it. It has ben replaced by walnut tree fields as far as the eye can see. I’d be curious if, among the residents, there was any inkling that their far is at the place of an old storied settlement.


This entry was posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2024 and is filed under Uncategorized.