The Maidu traded with their neighbors. From the Achumawi, to the north, they got obsidian and a green dye. From the Konkow they got bows, arrows, deer hides, and several kinds of food.
As with other tribes of California Indians, the Maidu ate seeds and acorns and hunted elk, deer, bears, rabbits, ducks, and geese; they also fished for salmon, lamprey eel, and other river life.
Maidu women and girls used milling stones, which were larger than hammer stones, to pound the acorns into meal. They also used a wooden or stone stick, called a pestle, and a rounded stone or wooden object, called a mortar, to make the acorn flour. Pounding acorns was hard work and these tools made it a little easier.
The Maidu built permanent winter homes and summer shade dwellings. Winter homes, which were partly underground, were built in the spring when the ground was soft enough to dig to a depth of 2 to 4 feet (1 meter). They were small cone-shaped dwellings of cedar bark covered with earth to keep them well insulated.
The Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California is a federally recognized tribe of Maidu people in Plumas and Tehama Counties, California.
Cedar or fir boughs were placed across the meal and warm water was poured all over, a process which took several hours, with the boughs distributing the water evenly and flavoring the meal. The Maidu used the abundance of acorns to store large quantities for harder times.
The Maidu tribe inhabited Sierra Nevada and the adjacent valleys of northern California. The lifestyle of the Maidu was ruined and many suffered from starvation. In 1863 the Maidu people were forced onto the Round Valley Reservation.
Since the Maidu lived in the mountains, they depended more on animals like deer for their food. They were good hunters. Sometimes a man hunted alone, and sometimes with a group of men. They had hunting dogs to help in the hunt.
They especially prized bear hides, and made them into robes to be worn during important ceremonies. The Maidu hunted deer by driving them over cliffs. They also ate grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. Coyotes were never eaten as they were considered to be “virtually poisonous”.
Maidu singers generally use a relaxed and nonpulsating vocal technique. And, compared with Native American songs from other musical areas, they sing large amounts of music with an unchanging beat and with a simple rhythmic organization. The music also has characteristic sequences and syncopations.
The Konkow Maidu slaver massacre refers to an incident in 1847 when several settlers killed 12 to 20 Konkow Maidu in a slave raid near present-day Chico, California.
The Nisenan made two distinct living structure known as Hu, and K’um. Hu was the common structure in which villagers lived. These dome-shaped homes were typically built of a combination of tule, earth and wooden poles. Their floors were strewn with foliage and a fire occupied a clear space in the center of a floor.
The Maidus are California Indians, located in Northern California. Most Maidu people still live there today.
Definition of Maidu 1a: an Indian people of the Feather and American river valleys of California. b: a member of such people. 2: a Pujunan language of the Maidu people.
Konkow Maidu leader Patsy Seek shows one of the traditional huts she’s built out of tree bark along the Feather River in Oroville.