Tag Archives: Winnemem Wintu Tribe

Winnemem Wintu Nation Fights Against The Clock To Preserve Their Heritage

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