Maidu tribe moving, opening thrift store |

Maidu tribe moving, opening thrift store

Laura Brown

The Tsi-Akim Maidu tribe is moving its home base from Grass Valley to Nevada City and will open an adjoining thrift store to pay for its new space.

The thrift shop will be the tribe’s first economic development project. In the past, the tribe paid its bills, including rent space, with money collected from fundraisers held throughout the year.

The shop will open during a grand opening ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 11, with food, drink, traditional drumming, singing and a circle dance in the office parking lot located at 548 Searls Ave.

The new space will triple the size of the tribe’s business quarters.

“It’s quite a change for us. We’re going to try it so the tribe can be more self-sufficient,” said tribal chairman Don Ryberg.

Volunteers have been stocking the store with donations such as clothing, household goods, furniture and some Native American items.

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The Tsi-Akim Maidu is made up of 177 members and is working to become “re-established.” The federal government doesn’t recognize the tribe.

The tribe was reduced in numbers and families were split apart in “every direction” after gold miners flooded Nevada County in the 1800s. More than a century later, the tribe continues to find descendants who did not know of their ancestry. Five new members were added this year.

Ryberg hopes any surplus money from thrift store sales could go toward cultural projects such as building more bark houses, like the single-family dwelling on the Burton Property that he envisions growing into a small demonstration village. Extra funds will also help pay for transportation and housing costs for out-of-town elders who wish to attend tribal events.

The thrift shop is the first of many enterprises, Ryberg said, and will be run by tribal member volunteers.

“The tribe’s certainly excited about it, and we’re asking for community support,” said Ryberg.

When it opens, the new office and thrift store will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. In addition to used items, the store will offer a lending library of Native American books. For more information, visit the tribe’s current office at 152 Mill Street, Suite A, in Grass Valley, or call 265-0711.


To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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