Winnemem Wintu Tribal Member Ricardo Torres will discuss the Tribe’s efforts to return our salmon home to the McCloud River at the 2011 Community Food Summit tomorrow, Sept. 13, at the Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC). Torres is also Chair of the SNAHC Board of Directors.
Scheduled for 10 a.m. – 1 p.m at the SNAHC building, 2022 J St., the summit is part of the “Let’s Move! in Indian Country” initiative which is a joint effort between First Lady Michelle Obama and Indian Health Services to improve nutrition and wellness in native communities.
Before the Shasta Dam was constructed, Chinook salmon was a staple food of the Winnemem as our McCloud River was one of the most productive salmon runs on the Pacific Coast.
But our access to salmon has been limited, and we believe it’s important for our physical health that salmon become a regular part of our diet again.
A growing body of research supports what indigenous people have long known, it’s in a salmon people’s genes to eat salmon.
“Salmon are the ultimate source of good health for California Indians that has been missing from our diets for generations,” said Spiritual Leader and Traditional Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco. “We need salmon back in our rivers and back in our diets for balance to return to our world.”
To restore our staple diet, the Winnemem are currently working on a plan with federal fish biologists from NOAA, our Maori allies, Fish and Game New Zealand and Hoop Valley Tribal fishery experts that would import the New Zealand salmon home to the McCloud and use natural creeks to get migrating salmon around the dam.
For more information about Let’s Move! in Indian Country, visit the Department of Interior’s web page.