Opinion: Winnemem Wintu Tribe deserves respect for ceremony

"I am writing this letter out of concern for the Winnemem Indians, who are requesting a designated area to be blocked off on the McCloud Arm of Lake Shasta June 30-July 4. I have absolutely no connection to this tribe, but I do reside on Lake Shasta.

It concerns me that the local foresters state that last year they denied the tribe their request because the tribe is not federally recognized. That may be the case, but they have been residents in our community for many years, since long before the U.S. Forest Service was here. Several years ago our community was fortunate enough to have a display at Turtle Bay of artifacts from the local Indian tribes. They were on loan from Smithsonian Institution. They may not be federally recognized tribes, but are recognized by the Smithsonian.

Lake Shasta has 365 miles of shoreline. Surely this lake is large enough to accommodate everyone. Why is it that the Forest Service cannot figure out a way to honor the request of the Winnemem, a 400-yard section of the lake for their ceremony? I know that it is a holiday weekend, and that is unfortunate, but I believe it is doable. It is also unfortunate that there are some citizens in our community, or visitors to our lake, who will mock or be disrespectful to these people and their customs. That is shameful, but unfortunately a reality."

Get the Story:
Cathy Joplin: We close for eagles — why not the tribe? (The Redding Record-Searchlight 6/3)

Another Opinion:
Charles J. Lees: Winnemem don't deserve special rights (The Redding Record-Searchlight 6/3)

Related Stories:
Winnemem Wintu Tribe requests privacy for a sacred ceremony (5/31)
Dan Bacher: Winnemem Wintu Tribe closes river for a war dance (5/30)
Editorial: Winnemem Wintu Tribe goes to war to practice religion (5/25)
Winnemem Wintu Tribe plans blockade of lake during ceremony (5/23)

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