My friend, Jens F. in Hamburg, Germany, has posed this question; "which of the two "sorts" of Wailakki lived for many years on John Sutter's farm, New Helvetia...?"
["One fact we don't know, which of the two "sorts" of Wailakki live for many years on J. Sutter's farm "New Helvetia", at last fighting and dying as true friends together with Sutter's white people and family against an army of gold searchers and Mexicans. Certainly delivered is: There were about sixty Indian warriors with their band chief living in Sutter's fort "New Helvetia" many years being defense… Their native country was - it seems sure - originally situated somewhere in the ~"North-West-mountains" of the Sierra Nevada. And I am rather sure they were Wailakki-Wintu coming down the Sacramento-Valley on one of their exploring trips, then first captured by Sutter and Marshall an d their men, and afterward getting subjugated "comrades", perhaps even friends. Never in slavery -- I cannot believe those statements of some historians. Cordial greetings ! Jens"]
My response - As to my opinion about the people who were at Sutter's New Helvetia, I believe it is quite likely that Pierson B. Reading brought some of them down from the area which is now Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. As you correctly note, they were from the "North-West mountains" - that infers the same counties that I have just listed. They are in the northwest area as I indicate in my site www.indians-northwest-california.com
Two early "immigrants" known as Granville Swift and Franklin Sears (who stayed at Sutter's each Winter) did enslave some Wailakki-Wintu and put them to work in mining for gold after they laid claims just north of New Helvetia. They are chronicled in many pieces written about the history of the area. I know their story pretty well because I am related to the Sears. Both are descended from Daniel Boone and came out of Missouri backwoods - very "rough" men, who even threatened Sutter with big knives when he would not do what they wanted from him. Both Sears and Swift were at the fort with Sutter when gold was discovered by James Marshall. It was Winter and their land to the north was difficult to live on because of heavy rains and muddy land; they had purchased the land and cattle one of the Larkin Grant; the northern-most Larkin land. When they discovered gold on the Yuba River, they neglected their land (the Larkin Grant) and went to mining full-scale. They definitely used Indians as slaves. They each became the equivalent of millionaires and later moved to the Sonoma area (after the Mexican War) where they became farmers and wine vintners.
Pierson BartonReading, on the other hand, was friendly to the Indians and is not known to have ever enslaved them or used them badly. Reading called these Indians to whom he was a benefactor of sorts, the "Wylakkers" and we know that he applied this term to all Indians in the northwest region of the mountains.