Opinion: Winnemem Wintu woman denied federal eagle permit

"Marine Sisk-Franco has been a Winnemem Wintu Indian for all of her years, and the Northern California tribe’s way of life is all she knows. She’s the daughter of the tribe’s chief and their headman, she’s danced and sung at their ceremonies, and, in 2006, she bravely endured racial taunts and threats from drunken power boaters who cruelly marred her coming of age ceremony, known as a Balas Chonas, as it took place on the banks of the McCloud River.

That ceremony was the tribe’s first Bałas Chonas in 85 years, and the courage and commitment Marine showed as a young teenager during those trying four days was something I admired deeply.

To me or anyone who knows her, there’s no doubt that she’s Winnemem Wintu just as any one of us are American.

But this past week she received a letter from U.S. Fish and Wildlife that refused to acknowledge her identity as an American Indian."

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A Just West: Fish and Wildlife Service denies an Indian her feathers (High Country News 4/7)

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