The Winnemem Wintu Nation only wants the California government to grant them one thing–to allow sixteen-year-old Marisa Sisk to complete her coming-of-age ceremony by legally closing a section of the McCloud River for four days. Unfortunately, Sisk may be blocked from the vital ritual for reasons that started decades ago and continue to this day.
Indian Country Today explains:
Forest Service officials say they can legally close the river only for a federally recognized tribe, and the Winnemem have delayed Marisa’s ceremony, fearing it will be disrupted by the same vulgar disturbances that have marred the previous two ceremonies within the tribe’s ancestral territory along [California's] McCloud River.
Ignoring voluntary closures, recreational boaters have motored through the ceremony site, now a Forest Service campground, some swilling beer and yelling racial slurs like “Fat Indians!” or disruptive taunts like “It’s our river too, dude!” In 2006, a drunken woman flashed the tribe with her naked breasts, and in 2010 a boater dumped cremations in the river shortly before a ceremonial swim. Continue reading
By Special Correspondent Jessica Yee
IWD is like Christmas time for me. Although I’m certainly not religious, I definitely enjoy the gathering of folks, the general merriness in the air, and the giving and receiving of presents (big or small!)
IWD is like that too. I look forward to it every year, and like any loyal family member, try to make it out to as many events as possible with something in hand to contribute. I walk away in an attempt to not indulge too much, and deal with the never-ending frustrations of the many differing perspectives on how this day should be celebrated.
So as the good ole tune goes, in my original remix, all I want for International Women’s Day is…Justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women worldwideThat women who are learning to birth babies in their home communities be fully funded and supported to do soAffordable access to birth control, particularly since it’s risen some 900% for low income women in the last two yearsAll Indian Health Service staff and centres to receive training on administering rape kitsThat Aboriginal women be entitled to matrimonial real property on reserve, and restored rights to own land after divorce, separation, or widowhoodFor pleasure to be an equal and important part of sex education