Speak Up Against The Shasta Dam Raise and for Winnemem Cultural Survival

Even though it violates state law, is based on faulty science, could contaminate Northern California’s water supply and would result in an “ethnocide” against the Winnemem Wintu people, the Shasta Dam raise is being fast-tracked by the Trump administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and Westlands Water District.

Now is the time to speak up on behalf of salmon and healthy rivers, the Winnemem Wintu and the people of California. Make no mistake, this project is a waste of taxpayer money in order to benefit the wealthy millionaires of Westlands Water District, while sacrificing public trust resources of California citizens and the religion of the Winnemem.

Westlands, the likely beneficiary of the proposal to raise Shasta Dam, is overseeing the state environmental review process and is accepting public comments until Jan. 4.

Email your comments directly to shastadameir@stantec.com or mail them to: Shasta Dam Project c/o Stantec 3301 C St., Suite 1900 Sacramento, CA 95816.

The deadline has been extended to 11:59 p.m. Jan. 14, 2018!

See what Chief Sisk, environmentalists and other activists said in their comments opposing the dam raise at a Dec. 12 scoping meeting in Redding.

After you write to Westlands, follow up with calls, emails and letters to your representatives in Congress. They will likely vote on funding the dam raise in the near future.

 

Talking Points

 

Here are some talking points to consider when writing your comments.

Erasing Winnemem Wintu Culture


-The dam raise would inundate or impact more than sacred sites integral to the Winnemem Wintu’s culture and history.

-Sites that would be flooded include Children’s Rock and Puberty Rock, which are vital sacred sites for the Winnemem Wintu’s Puberty Ceremony for young women.

-Anthropologists concluded about the Winnemem: “Through continual interaction with the McCloud River Basin over several millennia, Winnemem Wintu social, medicinal and spiritual activities have become inseparable from the McCloud River itself.” Without their sacred sites along the river, Winnemem culture can’t exist.

-The Winnemem Wintu were forcibly removed from their homes on the McCloud River during the construction of Shasta Dam. They never received any compensation as required by the 1941 Central Valley Project Indian Lands Acquisition Act passed by Congress.

-The Winnemem Wintu have already survived the Gold Rush genocide, boarding schools, the first dam, de-recognition and other attempts of forced assimilation. Why must we suffer another attack on their culture?

A Tiny Amount of Water for Corporate Interests on the Taxpayers’ Dime

-The $1.3 billion the dam raise will only increase water deliveries by an estimated 51,300 acre-feet. That is less than 1/10th of 1 percent of California’s annual water budget.

-The BOR admits there are “significant uncertainties” if the dam raise will even yield this much water.

-Urban water users saved more than 8 times the 51,300 acre-feet amount through conservation in the summer of 2015.

-Taxpayers would be forced to pay for half of the cost because the Bureau claims the project would benefit salmon. However, the US. Fish and Wildlife Service declared in a report, which the BOR tried to suppress, the dam raise would have minimal benefits if any for salmon.

-Most of the water from the proposed raise would be sold to corporate farms south of the Delta, most likely within the Westlands Water District.

-Westlands Water District receives millions every year in federal subsidies.

-Reservoirs the size of Shasta Lake lose significant amounts of water to evaporation. According to data from the California Department of Water Resources Data Exchange Center, the mean monthly evaporation rate for the Shasta Reservoir from May 1984 to August 2013 is already approximately 7,779.5 acre feet.

The Dam Raise and Westlands Violate State Law

-The dam raise would flood portions of the McCloud River that are protected by the state’s The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Under this law, new reservoirs that would inundate the river are prohibited.

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird wrote a letter to Congress objecting to the project because it violates state law. State agencies are not legally allowed to work on the dam raise

-As a state agency, Westlands is violating the law by overseeing the state environmental review process known as CEQA.

It Threatens Endangered Salmon

-A 2009 Biological Opinion required the Bureau of Reclamation to restore endangered Chinook salmon above Shasta Dam in order to help them survive the impacts of climate change.

-A raised dam would inundate some of the prime salmon habitat in these rivers.

-The BOR has already made disastrous mistakes with using Shasta Lake’s cold water pool, killing millions of salmon eggs.

-The inundation of uncapped mines and mine tailings could contaminate salmon spawning habitat with toxic chemicals like mercury and cadmium.

It Expands a Toxic Lake

-A 2007 study found that fish in Shasta Lake contain unsafe levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals.

-The Bureau of Reclamation has told stakeholders that there is 60 feet of toxic sludge at the bottom of the lake due to runoff from uncapped mercury, placer and copper mines.

-The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assessment indicated the dam raise could flood other uncapped mines and interfere with the dilution of the Iron Mountain Superfund site.

The Water Likely Would Be Used to Irrigate Poisoned Land

  • Westlands Water District has already bought 3,000 acres on the McCloud River to pave the way for the dam raise. They’re the most likely beneficiary/cost-sharer for the project.
  • In the San Joaquin Valley, irrigation water accumulates in the soil and natural occurring minerals like selenium accumulate at toxic levels due to evaporation.
  • Thousands of acres of Westlands Water District farmlands are already contaminated by selenium from irrigation. Their irrigation practices have already resulted in a selenium-based Superfund site: Kesterson reservoir.
  • Westlands has already had to retire 40,000 acres of farmland due to selenium poisoning.
  • Many advocate that it will be far cheaper to retire much of this farmland or cease water deliveries rather than attempt to find a drainage solution.
  • A Westland farmer has reported the district plans to convert most of their farmland into “solar farms” anyway. This is about the water rights and enriching corporate pockets, not about “feeding America”.

The Era of Big Dams Is Over

-Outside the power dynamics of California water wars, the scientific consensus is mega-dams are not worth the investment.

-Dam removal and ecosystem restoration are more effective ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

 

-Groundwater restoration, fixing leaky infrastructure and conservation are more effective investments in increasing the water supply.

-The World Commission on Dams found 70 percent of water supply dams fail to meet their target for water deliveries.

 

Citations 

https://www.friendsoftheriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Shasta-Dam-raise-referenced-fact-sheet-9-12-2018.pdf

https://water.ca.gov/LegacyFiles/pubs/waterquality/mercury_contamination_in_fish_from_northern_california_lakes_and_reservoirs/mercurycontaminationfinalonline.pdf

 

https://www.ewg.org/research/california-water-subsidies?fbclid=IwAR0JrVxYSR4Fv2pgK9NifE3mU9OUrL9eHB214VKAOXTZaw1p7DsA4BswZu0

USFWS report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxpLlt7HV7CrZGZSUUVOTFRmd1U/view?usp=sharing

Support the Winnemem on North State Giving Tuesday

Winnemem Wintu means “middle water people.” We are a salmon people indigenous to the McCloud and Sacramento River watersheds. We emerged from Mount Shasta where the exploitive Crystal Geyser Water Bottling Company (CG) is now threatening to extract and commoditize unlimited amounts of water from Mount Shasta groundwater, springs and waterways.

Siskiyou County would allow CG to open its plant if they could get away with denying the Tribe its rights under AB 52, a new amendment to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that acknowledges tribal cultural values, defines Tribal Cultural Resources (TCRs) and mandates that TCRs must be studied in CEQA review the same as other natural resources such as water and air quality.

Our AB52 CG litigation is currently the highest priority funding need for the WWT Office of Historic Preservation (WWT OHP). Besides adding a potent and independent tool that can be used by tribes in the defense of cultural resources, AB52 can also protect natural resources important to all communities.

The Tribe has hired the Indian law firm, Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan LLP who authored the text of AB52, to prosecute the AB52 cause of action in our case. AB52 was designed for California Indian Tribes and became effective in 2016 and has no case law. Our case has the real possibility of creating legal reality for indigenous values while strengthening and establishing case law for AB52 that will benefit all California Indian Tribes.

Join us Tuesday and help defend the sacred!  A donation on North State Giving Tuesday will go towards the Tribe’s Office of Historic Preservation legal fund to pay for expenses in our AB52 cause of action that will protect our Mount Shasta groundwater, springs and waterways from the Mount Shasta Crystal Geyser water bottling plant. We are not a casino tribe. The tribe does not receive any government health, education or housing benefits. The tribe currently has no paid staff.

How to Donate

You can donate online 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Tuesday Nov 27th, at www.northstategives.org/WWT-OHP.

You can also call the Winnemem Wintu’s Office of Historic Preservation at 530 926-4408.

Or you can visit our booth in the Mount Shasta Berryvale parking lot noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 27.

More About Us

Sunrise Ceremony at the Meadow with Mt. Shasta in view.

Sunrise Ceremony at the Meadow with Mt. Shasta in view.

We’re a state-recognized, historic California tribe, living on our traditional aboriginal lands that range from the top of Mount Shasta, south to the Central Valley within the McCloud, Upper Sacramento and Lower Pit River watersheds. 40 to 60 percent of all water that the entire State of California depends on originates from these upper regions. Our stories and songs guide us to care for Buliyum Puyuk (Mount Shasta), care for our sacred sites and cold water rivers and streams above and below the ground, follow the Sacred, speak for our endangered Winter Run Chinook Salmon and dance them back home to the McCloud River above the Shasta Dam.

We are not a casino tribe. The tribe does not receive any government health, education or housing benefits. The tribe currently has no paid staff.

We use historic preservation law, environmental law and traditional ecological knowledge to engage and negotiate with government agencies, NGO’s, private and public corporations and community groups to give notice, advise and possibly amend and improve projects that affect our traditional cultural resources. Our goal is to resolve adverse effects to the land, water and air. We collaborate and/or confront for the wellbeing and the benefit of all life. As a last resort the Tribe will use the court system as a tool to ensure that the intent and letter of manmade law and the laws of the natural world are respected and followed.

More the Crystal Geyser Lawsuit

The Crystal Geyser Water Company (CG) is setting up their water extraction business on Mount Shasta to mine unlimited amounts of groundwater from the Mountain and the County of Siskiyou (County) refuses to impose extraction limits. The County has also denied the Tribe’s rights to the required AB52 Consultation, a new amendment to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), by arbitrarily terminating the consultation with the Tribe before certifying the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the CG Project.

AB52 acknowledges tribal cultural values, defines Tribal Cultural Resources (TCRs) and mandates that TCRs must be studied in CEQA review the same as other natural resources such as water and air quality.

This CG litigation is currently the highest priority funding need for the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP). The Tribe has hired the Indian law firm of Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan LLP, who authored the text of AB52, to prosecute the AB52 cause of action in our case. AB52 became effective in 2016 and has no case law. Our case has the real possibility of creating legal reality for indigenous values, strengthening and establishing case law for AB52 that will benefit all California Indian tribes. Besides adding a potent and independent tool that can be used by tribes in the defense of cultural resources, AB52 can also protect natural resources important to all communities.

The CG water bottling plant would damage or destroy WWT TCRs; contaminate the Big Springs aquifer with industrial waste; adversely affect neighboring domestic wells; create air, noise and light pollution; and increase truck traffic and road damage for the City of Mount Shasta. The Tribe has filed joint petitions with the community group We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review, one against the County of Siskiyou for certifying the deficient EIR and the other against the City of Mount Shasta for using that EIR to justify issuing a wastewater permit to Crystal Geyser.

Press Release: Winnemem Wintu and WATER Lawsuit: Crystal Geyser’s Industrial Waste Discharge at Mt. Shasta Was Illegally Approved

For Immediate Release:

April 28, 2018

Contact Information:
Geneva Omann,Secretary, Board of Directors
We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review,
530-918-8805, mountshastawater@gmail.com

Mark Miyoshi, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
Luisa Navejas, Mt. Shasta District Representative and Water Advisor
WInnemem Wintu Tribe
530-926-4408

Mount Shasta, CA – We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (W.A.T.E.R.) and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe petitioned the Superior Court of Siskiyou County for a Writ of Mandate (Petition) against the City of Mt. Shasta, challenging its March 26, 2018, split-vote approval of the Industrial Waste Discharge Permit for Crystal Geyser Water Company and challenging the city’s conclusion that the project was adequately considered in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared by Siskiyou County, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

According to an indemnification clause of the permit application, Crystal Geyser Water Company will be responsible for covering all legal and staff cost incurred by the city to address the petition.

WATER and the tribe argue in the petition that when the city approved the permit, it abused its discretionary powers in violation of CEQA by relying upon an EIR that fails to include information necessary for informed decision-making and informed public participation, and in failing to adopt feasible mitigation measures within its jurisdiction.

The validity of the EIR has been challenged in a separate case filed against Siskiyou County.

During the county’s administrative review process of the Crystal Geyser operations and the EIR, the city itself had submitted well-considered and detailed comments strongly objecting to numerous hazards of the project including excessive noise, lighting, traffic, improper wastewater disposal and possible inadequate ground water supplies.

Subsequently, the city decided to not challenge the EIR in court, but
nonetheless continued to maintain its objections raised in its previous comments on the Draft EIR. These valid issues raised by the city, and also by many other citizens and experts, were barely addressed and never resolved by the county.

Despite the city’s knowledge that the EIR was potentially insufficient, the
city conducted minimal reviews during its consideration of the wastewater permit, and did not make formal “CEQA Findings” as required by CEQA law. Approval of the permit without the required Responsible Agency findings thus violated CEQA.

The tribe and WATER further argue that the approved permit (a revision of the draft permit evaluated in the EIR) includes additional waste streams that were not evaluated in the EIR process.

Although Crystal Geyser had informed the city of its intention to seek the inclusion of additional waste streams long before the completion of the Draft EIR by the county, the city took no action as a responsible agency to include these known potential waste streams into the EIR’s analysis.

In addition, the permit allows for significant delay in requiring the necessary improvements to the city’s wastewater system, and this will result in impacts to the environment.

The city failed to evaluate these impacts and failed to prepare supplemental CEQA documentation in order to support its decision to approve the permit.

The tribe and WATER further allege that the EIR is faulty because Siskiyou County failed to complete required A.B. 52 consultation with the Winnemem Wintu tribe, and as a result, the EIR cannot support the city’s conclusions in its role as a responsible agency.

Finally, the tribe and WATER assert in the petition the city failed to make formal CEQA findings, and the one-sentence statement in the resolution adopted to approve the permit was insufficient to be considered the “CEQA findings” to support the city’s approval.

W.A.T.E.R. representative Geneva Omann stated, “If this bottling plant is going to be operating here, we want ALL of its effluent to go to the city wastewater treatment plant, but at the very least, the permitting and operations of the bottling plant and the waste water treatment plant must be in compliance with CEQA. Currently they are not.”

She also said, “We are challenging the permit approval to ensure the wastewater treatment plant, the environment, the Winnemem Wintu’s traditional cultural resources, and city residents are all protected from potential adverse effects of the bottling plant.

We are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters of the Winnemem Wintu in defending Water and our community.”

Winnemem Wintu Tribal Representatives, Mark Miyoshi and Luisa Navejas stated, “The Winnemem Wintu were born from the pristine water of Mount Shasta and regard this water as a sacred relative, a living being that is being exploited, desecrated and polluted when it is put in a plastic bottle and commoditized. When we stand up for the life of the water from this mountain that flows throughout the tribe’s traditional territory and becomes the mighty Sacramento and McCloud Rivers, we are defending the life of all free flowing streams and rivers and ultimately the precious life of our great Mother Ocean. All voices matter as the value of water is the value of life itself.”

###

PRESS RELEASE: Winnemem Wintu Partners with GoFundMe to Finance First Ever Salmon Relocation and Restoration Project

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Winnemem Wintu Partners with GoFundMe to Finance First Ever Salmon Relocation and Restoration Project

Press Contacts:

Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu Hereditary Chief and Spiritual Leader

caleenwintu@gmail.com

(530) 229-4096
Gary Mulcahy, Government Liaison

gary@ranchriver.com

(916) 214-8493

Michael Preston (Pomtahatot Tuiimyali), Cultural Preservation Officer

wintu530@gmail.com

(530) 440-6270

JamesSalmonREDDING, Calif. – After a seven-year campaign to get the attention of federal agencies, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe is poised to take a major step in bringing home the descendants of the McCloud River Chinook salmon from the rivers of New Zealand. With California salmon runs at risk of extinction, we’re partnering with GoFundMe this month to raise $85,000 to fund the first phase of our project before it’s too late. 

At a time when climate change, dams and industrial water extraction for Big Ag threaten the future of California’s salmon, federal biologists agree with the Winnemem Wintu that salmon must return to the glacial waters of the McCloud River above Shasta Dam in order to survive.

This June, the tribe and our allies are joining forces with GoFundMe to raise $85,000. This will help fund the collection of samples of the winter-run salmon in New Zealand’s. These salmon are descendants of the same salmon that once spawned in the McCloud River. UC-Davis fish biologists will perform DNA testing on these samples to prove to the federal government that these are indeed the direct descendants of the McCloud River winter run salmon.

This will be the first phase of the Winnemem’s plan to bring home the wild chinook salmon that once ran in the millions and were the center of the tribe’s spiritual and cultural world. More than 70 years since the last salmon spawned in the McCloud River, we’re asking for good hearted people to join us in our historic efforts to return the salmon through a plan based on indigenous leadership and traditional ecological knowledge.

In the late 1800s and early 1900’s, federal fish culturists shipped winter-run salmon from the McCloud River around the world. While our salmon thrived in the Rakaia River in New Zealand, they were blocked from returning to the McCloud River in the 1940s with the construction of Shasta Dam, a project that also flooded the Winnemem homelands.

After years of meetings with the US Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries and a successful lobbying during the 2016 Run4Salmon, the  Bureau of Reclamation agreed to support the tribe’s project by setting aside partial funding for the first phase in support of the sample gathering, but an additional $85,000 is needed to ensure the samples are collected this spawning season. The tribe’s ultimate plan for the salmon’s return involves building a swimway using existing creeks around the dam to the McCloud River so the salmon can be restored to their rightful place in the natural world.
Read our plan to return the salmon here: http://www.water.ca.gov/fishpassage/docs/shasta_winnemem.pdf
To build support last fall, Chief Caleen Sisk led the Run4Salmon, a two-week journey tracing the historical path of our salmon from the mouth of the Bay-Delta estuary to the McCloud River. The Run4Salmon was a prayer for the protection of the waters, the restoration of the salmon and continuance of indigenous lifeways that are currently under attack by Gov. Jerry Brown’s  Delta Tunnels proposal, Bureau of Reclamation’s proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam, and other mega-projects that would further degrade our rivers and the estuary the salmon need to survive.
Just as DAPL threatens the future of the Standing Rock Sioux, the threats to salmon endanger the future of the Winnemem Wintu people and other California salmon tribes. The salmon are vital to clean rivers and reducing the temperatures in our waterways, making their survival important for all humans, especially as we face the challenges of climate change. That is why we fight for them.

STATEMENTS

Chief Caleen Sisk: “This is our pipeline, and we have to wake the people up before we are standing in front of bulldozers because we will do that also”

Gary Mulcahy: “We are setting out to do something that has never been done before.”

Corrina Gould:  “. . .The salmon that came up our rivers and took care of my ancestors are the same salmon that spawn on Chief Caleen’s river and took care of her ancestors as well.”

 

PRESS RELEASE: DAMS, DEAD FISH, TUNNELS and INDIANS

Sacramento, CA September 20, 2016 – In the midst of a 300-mile trek and prayer journey to bring salmon back to the McCloud River, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and their allies converge on the State Capitol to demand a change in California’s water policy.

With plans to build new Dams and expand existing ones, and proposing to build two forty-foot Tunnels to divert more water out of the Delta, the stakes could not be higher for all of Californian.  Fish species are on the verge of extinction.  Disadvantaged Communities, subsistence fishermen, and small family farmers could see their water and way of life disappear altogether.  And, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who suffered over 90% loss of their traditional homeland, sacred sites, and cultural gathering sites along the Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers when Shasta Dam was built, will again suffer the brunt of this destructive water policy.

The Winnemem Wintu and their allies have embarked on a 300-mile prayer journey from Sogorea Te (Glen Cove, Vallejo) to the historical spawning grounds of the winter-run salmon on the McCloud River.  This journey is a walk/run/boat/bike and horseback ride to bring attention to the plight of all the runs of salmon in California, and the water management practices that have brought some of those runs to the edge of extinction.  It is a prayer to let Californians know that the water they enjoy has come to them at the cost of others and the threat of death and extinction to species necessary for a healthy California.

Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe says, “We consider Shasta Dam a weapon of mass destruction.  It has already taken our homes, sacred sites, burial sites, and stopped the salmon from returning to their historical spawning grounds.  If these tunnels are built, Governor Brown’s so called ‘California WaterFix’, they will not only cause more death and destruction to the already endangered salmon, but they will encourage and motivate plans to enlarge Shasta Dam.  An enlarged Shasta Dam will flood what remaining sacred sites, and cultural sites that we still use today.”

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director for Restore the Delta states, “Restore the Delta stands today with the Winnemem Wintu calling on Governor Brown to abandon a failed water plan for California.  The era of unlimited water resource development is over.  As we revealed last week in the state’s own economic analysis, the only way to make the Delta tunnels pencil out in terms of water delivery is to take even more water from the Delta — which will finish off its fisheries, its entire ecosystem.  And to make matters worse, the government expects you and me to pay for this destruction with our taxes.”

Trent Orr, a lawyer for Earthjustice, which represents the Winnemem Wintu in various legal fights to protect and restore salmon, said:

 

“The Sacramento River’s salmon runs are an emblem of wild California and its mountain-born rivers.  The Winnemem Wintu Tribe has long fought to save these fish, which are central to their culture, and to restore health to the waters they need to thrive.  But it has been an uphill battle.  Much of the Tribe’s homeland was drowned by Shasta Dam, and the salmon’s access to the cold, clean spawning grounds above the dam, to which they had returned for eons, was blocked.  Plans to raise the dam and to pump even more fresh water out of the Sacramento River via the governor’s proposed giant tunnels could doom the salmon, already perilously close to extinction.  The dam raise would also drown much of what’s left of the Tribe’s homeland.  Earthjustice is proud to have represented the Tribe in many of its legal battles to save and restore the salmon.  On behalf of the Tribe and its allies, we will continue to fight for the day when wild salmon again spawn in the headwaters of the Sacramento.”

In written testimony submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board, for the ongoing hearings regarding the Bureau of Reclamation’s and the Department of Water Resource’s water diversion change petition regarding the California WaterFix, Winnemem Wintu Governmental Liaison Gary Mulcahy asks,

“Drowned cultures, dead and extinct fish, broken promises, stolen lands, environmental destruction, water grabs, and years and years of litigation – is it truly worth it?

 

PRESS CONFERENCE:  West Steps of State Capitol – Tues, Sept. 20th, 2016 10:30 – 12:00

Speakers: Chief Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu Tribe; Trent Orr, Earthjustice; Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, Restore the Delta; Eric Wesselman, Friends of the River.

For more information on the 300-mile journey:                                   Contact:  Gary Mulcahy
www.run4salmon.org                                                                             916-214-8493
gary@ranchriver.com

For more information on the Winnemem Wintu:
www.winnememwintu.us

Follow the Run4Salmon on Instagram!

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 5.29.05 PMNow you can follow the Winnemem Wintu and our allies on Instagram as we travel the 300-mile path the McCloud salmon historically swam home.

For more information about the schedule of events for the Sept. 17-Oct.1 Run4Salmon, visit Run4Salmon.org. 

 

This Fall Run4Salmon and for Healthy Rivers

800_helene_sisk_warrioring_upWho are we?


Winnemem Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk and a collective of Indigenous women, activists, and allies are organizing the Run 4 Salmon, a 300-mile trek that follows the historical journey of the salmon from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Winnemem (McCloud River) to raise awareness about the policies threatening our waters, our fish, and indigenous lifeways. It’s a dire time in California for wild chinook salmon (Nur) – climate change, giant dam projects and draining rivers for Big Ag irrigation threaten the survival of the keystone keepers of our waters. Salmon bring essential nutrients to the waterways, forests, and lands. However, since the Shasta Dam was built 71 years ago, the salmon have been unable to return to their home waters in the Winnemem’s ancestral watershed. Now, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe is working on a plan to bring the genetic descendants of their salmon from New Zealand back to their home waters.

What’s the problem?


Our waters, our fish, and indigenous ways of life are all under attack. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation , Westlands Water District, and Senator Dianne Feinstein plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet. Gov. Jerry Brown of California wants to build two giant tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that will divert our fresh water from the Sacramento River for the GMO Agricultural industry and have the potential of diverting every drop of fresh water from the Sacramento River. If they build these tunnels and raise the dam they will kill the largest estuary on the Pacific coast, inundate future spawning grounds on the McCloud River, and flood Winnemem Wintu sacred sites. These projects will destroy sacred ceremonial places, poison the soil, and destroy unique habitat that is essential for salmon as well as other plants, birds, and marine life.

What are we doing?


The Run 4 Salmon will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1. This event will help raise awareness about the threats to the salmon’s existence and the vital role salmon play in keeping our waters and forests healthy. We will be laying down blessings along the route they will take once they are brought back from New Zealand. This is a ceremonial way of bringing Salmon home, who have historically been the keepers of the water, and whose jobs are essential to keeping our waterways healthy for human life and for all other life that depends on these rivers. As we run, we will be praying to bring balance to the rivers of California and to all of the waters of the world, which are connected.

How can you help?


You can participate by;

  • Joining in on the walk, the bicycle segment, and/or the run, or by taking a boat on
    the river.
  • You can follow this journey on social media.
  • Donate to our gofundme page to support those making this journey.
  • Call your senators and ask what they are doing to ensure the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s way of life is preserved and their voice is heard in California’s water planning. Tell them to build a volitional swim way around Shasta Dam for the Chinook Salmon, and to bring the McCloud River Salmon home from New Zealand.
  • Sign our petitions.
  • If you are a teacher, have your class follow Run 4 Salmon on our website. There
    will be photos, blogs and information which may interest your students.
  • Use our hashtags to help spread the word #run4salmon #NoDamRaise.
  • You can also support our efforts by praying for your waters, learning where your
    water comes from, knowing the names of those rivers, and standing up for your
    waterways.

    L earn more at www.run4salmon.org. 

    Join the Facebook event here.

Join the Social Media Storm to #StopTheDamRaise

This week, call, Tweet and/or Facebook message California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (their information is below) and tell them you support Winnemem Wintu indigenous rights, healthy rivers and strong salmon runs. Tell them NO to the Shasta Dam raise StormFBEventBannerand YES to justice for the Winnemem, which must include at the very least – like lands on the McCloud River, implementation of our plan to return salmon to the McCloud and restoration of federal recognition.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Twitter: Tweet @SenFeinstein

Phone: (202)224-3841

Senator Barbara Boxer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barbaraboxer/
Twitter: Tweet @SenatorBoxer
Phone: (202) 224-3553

Example Tweet: “I support Winnemem indigenous rights, healthy rivers + strong salmon runs. I say NO to the Shasta Dam raise.#StoptheDamRaise

Background: Since time immemorial, the Winnemem Wintu lived on the McCloud River (Winnemem Waywacket) until the Shasta Dam was constructed and flooded our homes and many of our sacred sites. Our land was taken without compensation such as “like lands to live on” promised by the 1941 Central Valley Project Indian Lands Acquisition Act, which was never carried out.

The current proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet is a destructive and wasteful plan. It would:

• Drown most of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s last remaining sacred sites and ancestral homelands.

• Decimate critically endanger salmon.

• Violate the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by flooding the McCloud River.

Join our fight to preserve Winnemem Wintu culture and religion for future generations as well as to protect our water from the power brokers that would sell it South to Big Ag. The time to stop this waste of taxpayer money is NOW as GOP lawmakers are trying to sneak through Congress a bill that likely including funds for the dam raise.
(Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article48042265.html#storylink=cpy)

Critical to the identity of Winnemem is the care of many sacred places on what has always been tribal land. As people deeply connected to nature, the land is the foundation of our religion, providing powerful places of worship and directions for living a good life. Without our sacred places, Winnemem can no longer be Winnemem. We have no other place to go. Please stand with us and for the sacred by contacting Senators Feinstein and Boxer today!
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article45985335.html#storylink=cpy

Sign the Petition to STOP THE PLAN TO FLOOD WINNEMEM WINTU SACRED LANDS

SIGN THE CREDO PETITION NOW

Raising the height of Shasta Dam would drown most of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s last remaining sacred sites and traditional homelands, decimate endangered salmon and violate the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by flooding the McCloud River.

It is a criminal waste of taxpayer money, especially since cheaper, faster, state-of-the-art alternatives exist to ensure the state’s long-term water supply. Reject the California Emergency Drought Relief Act and any other legislation that could authorize raising Shasta Dam.
shastadammeme
Join our fight today to stop the Shasta Dam raise. It help help preserve Winnemem Wintu culture and religion for future generations, and it will save all Californians from waste and unnecessary ecological destruction to benefit a few rich agri-business leaders. You can’t stop a drought with a dam!

Press Release: Winnemem Wintu and Allies to Protest Exclusion of California Indians from Gov. Brown’s California Water Summit

For Immediate Release: June 27, 2015

Press Contact: Caleen Sisk, (530) 229-4096

The Winnemem Wintu tribe, allies and other tribal representatives will be rallying and waving signs outside the 2nd California Water Summit this Monday, June 29, at the Westin Sacramento to protest Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to exclude California tribes, environmentalists and other important stakeholders in this public meeting about massive state water infrastructure projects.

The summit is being advertised by the Brown administration as a conference to discuss the “latest developments including project selection for the $7.5 billion water bond” that is now available after the passage of the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Act of 2014.

Registration for the summit is nearly an astounding $1,500 per person, and there have been no efforts to include tribal representatives, environmentalists or anyone who is advocating for sound water policy that will benefit future generations, local ecosystems and salmon and other fisheries.

No mention of tribal water rights is listed on the agenda, and it seems the only people attending will be water districts’ staff, government scientists, corporate representatives and other advocates for Governor Brown’s pet water projects like the Shasta Dam raise and the twin Delta Tunnels, both of which would be devastating for salmon and tribal cultural resources and sacred sites.

“Most of the California Indians who are working on tribal water rights and for healthier rivers can’t afford a $1,500 registration fee,” said Winnemem Wintu Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk.  “This is clearly an effort by Governor Brown to exclude the tribal voice, shove out anyone who disagrees with his destructive water plans and provide an opportunity for government and the big water power brokers to collude behind closed doors.”

Though California is suffering through five years of drastically low rainfall, Chief Sisk said the water problems are all man-made, due to poor management and greed. As the low rainfall puts a stress on California’s boondoggle of a water system, it has never been more important for the indigenous perspective to be heard and for tribal water rights to be acknowledged and upheld. The Winnemem Wintu have an especially important stake in the bond funds as many think they could be used to support the Shasta Dam raise to enlarge Shasta Lake’s capacity, which in turn would flood or damage about 40 sacred sites vital to the Winnemem’s religion and cultural practices.

“This is a summit that is meant to help these people peddle Brown’s projects that will benefit his buddies: agri-business and water sellers in Southern California,” Sisk said. “They are not interested in what’s best for the people of California and their children.”

All supporters are invited to join the Winnemem and their allies at the Westin Sacramento, 4800 Riverside Boulevard, at 7 a.m. Monday June 29. Please bring signs and any other items to ensure Gov. Brown hears our message loud and clear: He can no longer ignore the indigenous people of California!