Maidu leader seeks stronger tribe Patsy Seek fights for culture, unity

Patsy Seek and teepee

photo by Jennifer MacDonald

Konkow Maidu leader Patsy Seek shows one of the traditional huts she’s built out of tree bark along the Feather River in Oroville.

by Jennifer MacDonald

Patsy Seek combed the banks of Northern California’s Feather River, scoured the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and made house calls in Oroville searching for Native American children skipping school.

“I’d drag ’em out of bed,” she says. “They’d hide in the mountains and I’d go find them.”

Seek could relate to the troubled students. Herself a Maidu woman, Seek dropped out of high school during her first year.

In Oroville and surrounding Butte County, the Native American population is mostly Maidu. The Maidu were among the largest of the California tribes, occupying large parts of Northern and Central California before white settlers came. 

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