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.

This Week in Winnemem: Salmon, Unrecognized Tribes and Human Right to Water

This H'up Chonas dance photograph was feature in the Christian Science Monitor's web site.

The Winnemem Wintu have received a lot of news coverage in recent weeks, so here is a quick round-up in case you missed it.

The Human Right to Water, which would guarantee all people affordable access to clean water and sanitation, is an important cause to the Winnemem, as we believe the right must also include spiritual access to water.

More than 20 Winnemem, coincidentally, were at the state capitol Wednesday where we successfully helped lobby for the unanimous passage on the Senate floor of Assembly Bill 1221, which would help federally unrecognized tribes improve water quality and sanitation in their communities.

“Water is sacred, water is Life for all,” commented Caleen Sisk-Franco, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem. “Just as all need to breathe Air, so should be the waters be for all, not just those who market water and ruin the rest in poor planning.”

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