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!

 

WINNEMEM WINTU REJECT BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN, DENOUNCE IT AS A DEATH SENTENCE FOR SALMON AND VIOLATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Press Release

 

Winnemem Wintu

 

For immediate release: Dec. 9, 2013

 

For more information: Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader, (530) 710-4817

 

WINNEMEM WINTU REJECT BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN, DENOUNCE IT AS A DEATH SENTENCE FOR SALMON AND VIOLATION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

 

Chief Caleen Sisk will speak at rallies in Sacramento today and Friday and re-affirm the Winnemem Wintu opposition’s against the construction of the peripheral water export tunnels and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), as Governor Jerry Brown’s administration releases the preliminary Environmental Impact Report and the BDCP plan to the public today.

 

As California’s State Water Project currently operates, far too much water is sucked from the San Francisco/Sacramento Delta, the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast, and sent to the state’s water brokers, who support unsustainable industrial agriculture, destructive hydraulic fracking for oil extraction and municipal developments in the desert.

 

The proposed peripheral tunnels, with a conservatively estimated price tag of $54 billion, will undoubtedly kill the sensitive Delta, a delicate mix of salt and freshwater, that is vital to the life cycle of California salmon as well as thousands of other fish and species.

 

“There is no precedent for the killing of an estuary of this size, so how could any study be trusted to protect the Delta for salmon and other fish? How can they even know what the effects will be?” said Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk.  “The end of salmon would also mean the end of Winnemem, so the BDCP is a threat to our very existence as indigenous people.”

 

As one of the many traditional salmon tribes in California, the Winnemem rely on access to salmon to maintain our cultural and religious practices. The peripheral tunnels if ever constructed would therefore be in violation of our indigenous rights to maintain our cultural practices with salmon, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

Recently at a public meeting in Redding, Governor Brown’s  Deputy Director of the Natural Resources Agency Jerry Meral, disclosed that the peripheral tunnels are connected to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s plan to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet, a project that would destroy or submerge nearly 40 sacred sites and destroy potential salmon spawning areas. We are currently working on plans to re-introduce our salmon above the dam into the McCloud River.

 

The planned Delta tunnels will  require more water be taken from the Trinity River and the Shasta Dam, which is fed by the Upper Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers. This will add even more stress to the struggling ecology of these rivers.

This plan is not meant to benefit the public of California, native and non-native, but purely to line the coffers of the lobbyists who have been buying off Gov. Brown all along, such as Beverly Hills Big Ag billionaire Stewart Resnick and his wife Lynda who contributed $99,000 to his 2010 campaign. The Western States Petroleum Association has spent more than $4.5 million in lobbying the state government in 2013 alone.

 

The peripheral tunnels are a violation of the public’s trust in Gov. Brown, and not the answer to dealing with the state’s forthcoming water shortages. There are better solutions.

The Winnemem are proud to announce that we will be standing with our allies during a press conference today and a rally Friday, Dec. 13 at the West Steps of the Capitol. Chief Sisk will speak.

 

These events are sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

—Press Conference and Rally at the Capitol

—Location: Starting in Room 112, moving to West Steps if needed

—Starting Time: Noon with 12:30 p.m. press conference – arrive as early as 10:30 for possible walk to California Resources Agency.

 

Friday, December 13, 2013

—Friday the 13th Rally to begin the 120 Day BDCP Response Countdown

—Location: West Steps of the Capitol

—Starting Time: 11:30 a.m.

 

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

 

To stop this boondoggle please writ letters to Governor Brown expressing your opposition to the peripheral tunnels plan! Letters should be addressed to:

 

Governor Jerry Brown

c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814