At the Nature Fest on April 27 in Georgetown, local historian Guy “Red Corn” Nixon will preside over the dedication of a monument to Huuk Coppa Hembo, who played a major leadership role at the Battle of Rock Creek where the Hill Nisenan defeated the Valley Maidu raiding party. Nixon shared how Coppa Hembo played a major role in seeing the tribal children were educated in Georgetown area schools side by side with non-native children. It was also pointed out how Coppa Hembo led a vaccination campaign against smallpox, which saved the Maidu from the devastating impact smallpox had on Irish, Spanish and Chinese miners.
Nixon will be featured in the new television series, Nuggets of El Dorado History, produced for Sierra Community Access Television by George Sabato and Samantha Ferrand. Viewers will be taken to such sites as the location of Battle of Rock Creek, the birth place of Coppa Hembo, Maidu village sites, as well as historic trails and mining sites. The series will premier this Spring on Comcast Channel 2 and stream from sierratv2.blogspot.com.
Nixon was a featured speaker at the California Council for the Social Studies conference held recently in Burlingame. His presentation was “Indian Slavery in the West and Huuk (Chief) Coppa Hembo.” The room full of California history teachers (as well as numerous teachers from other states) was exposed to insights into the slave trade that decimated the indigenous population of the Sierra Foothills. The story of the Paiute capturing Maidu and Washoe men to trade for horses and the Valley Miwok capturing Hill Nisenan to sell to the mercury mine operations in San Jose is not found in traditional history books. Nixon drew connections between world events such as the Napoleonic Wars that increased the demand for mercury from the San Jose mines.