Opinion: Heckling of Winnemem Wintu Tribe hurts us all

"My first impression of Redding and Shasta County was an ugly one.

It was a drunken, bikini-clad woman aboard her friends' powerboat, flashing her breasts and screaming across the McCloud River at the Winnemem Wintu and their friends.

She and her cohorts had ignored a voluntary river closure and decided to disrupt the sanctity of the tribe's 2006 Coming of Age Ceremony, or Baas Chonas. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the site, had refused to close a small portion of the river for the four-day ceremony, and many recreational boaters drifted through yelling insults, calling them "fat Indians" and parking their houseboat a stone's throw from the Winnemem's traditional bark hut.

I saw these incidents in a short documentary that the Winnemem's Headman Mark Franco presented during an environmental law conference in 2008 at the University of Oregon, where I was a graduate student."

Get the Story:
Marc Dadigan: Ceremony heckling hurts all of Redding (The Redding Record-Searchlight 5/29)

Related Stories:
Opinion: Winnemem Wintu Tribe outraged by federal fishkill (5/20)
Caleen Sisk-Franco: Help protect sacred ceremonial site (5/12)

Join the Conversation