Winnemem Seek Food Donations for Balas Chonas (Coming of Age Ceremony)

Chief Sisk receives Marisa as a Winnemem woman after Marisa swam across the river during her ceremony.

Chief Sisk receives Marisa as a Winnemem woman after Marisa swam across the river during her ceremony.

Dear supporters, friends and allies,

Our 2014 Balas Chonas (Coming of Age ceremony) for two young Winnemem ladies is only a few weeks away, and our Ceremony Cook Ricardo is hoping to receive some assistance to help fulfill the ceremony’s tradition of cooking meals with traditional foods for all participants and attendees.

He is especially hoping to receive local Shasta County donations. Everything helps, but he is especially hoping for:

  • fruit
  • salad fixings
  • food that can be brought in, not requiring refrigeration.

E-mail Ricardo at if you would like to donate some food.

If you’d like to make a paypal donation to our non-profit Indian Cultural Organization to support the ceremony, click the button: [paypal-donation]

Here is a list of other foods we usually require for ceremony.

Meats (cooked for meals or cooked in stews and already frozen)



beef roast stew


browned hamburger

chicken, precooked and frozen for dishes

Vegetarian stews (packaged and frozen)

Chili beans (packaged and frozen)


fresh vegetables like

summer squash








any kind of veggies, but preferably those which can be used to make a meal with other things.

Fresh fruit and melons for breakfast

Lots of tortillas,

Potatoes for potato salad or breakfast already cooled and bagged up

macaroni already cooked and bagged up


bread and sandwich fixing.

If bringing cold cuts, they should be frozen and put into the cooler together.

spaghetti sauce,

salad dressings




Rice milk, lactaid milk,

almond milk.

News from Native California Cover Story about Bałas Chonas

The Winnemem Wintu’s struggle to protect our (Bałas Chonas) Coming of Age ceremonies from public interference is the subject of the cover story for News from Native California‘s fall issue.

In previous ceremonies on the McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake, recreational boaters and fisherman have ignored “voluntary closures” and interfered with the four-day ceremonies for our young women.

The U.S. Forest Service will not provide a mandatory closure of the small stretch of river (about 200 yards) because we’re not a federally recognized tribe.

Without a full closure, we had to postpone this past July’s ceremony for Marisa, who is training to be our next leader, and we are currently negotiating with the Forest Service to secure a mandatory closure for this summer.

Be sure to pick up an issue of News from Native California to read more and visit the How You Can Help page to see how you can support our efforts to defend our ceremony.