Deeper Than Gold: A Guide to Indian Life in the Sierra Foothills

A tribute to the people who know the Gold country best

Brian Bibby brings together the present and the past—both ancient and recent—in a fascinating compilation of anecdote, myth, recollection, and reflection.

Five years in the making and the result of almost thirty years of dedicated work among California’s native communities, Deeper Than Gold is a tribute to the people who know Gold Country best. Witness a visual history with family photographs from private albums and stunning original work by renowned photographer Dugan Aguilar (of Paiute/Pit River/Maidu heritage). This gorgeously designed book offers an intimate view of the remarkable and persistent people of Gold Country whose culture continues to evolve and thrive in the area around Highway 49.


“Nobody knows more about Native California than Brian Bibby....Deeper Than Gold is a precious, wonderful marvel of a book about the history and cultures of the many Indian peoples who make their homes even today in California's Sierra Nevada.”

—Orin Starn, author of Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last

“Wild” Indian


“Hard to put down. The style of writing is clean and brisk and the pictures personal. I found myself wanting to ask questions of the people looking back at me in these pages...”

The Mariposa Sentinel

Dugan Aguilar is a Mountain Maidu/Pit River/Walker River Paiute photographer whose work celebrates the perseverance of Native American culture. He has exhibited his work at the Institute for Indian Arts, the California State Indian Museum, and the C.N. Gorman Museum. He is the recipient of several awards from the Santa Fe Indian Market.
For more than forty years, Brian Bibby has been involved with Native communities, families, and individuals, preserving and documenting their various cultural art forms, languages, and oral histories. He has taught at a number of institutions and conducted research at museums and archives across the nation. He has also served as a consultant and guest curator for many cultural and folk arts programs. His other books include The Fine Art of California Indian Basketry, Deeper Than Gold: A Guide to Indian Life in the Sierra Foothills, and Precious Cargo: California Indian Cradle Baskets and Childbirth Traditions.