Environment | Federal Recognition

Winnemem Wintu Tribe wants federal status before ceremony

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe of California needs federal recognition to protect its ceremony and sacred sites, Chief Caleen Sisk said.

Sisk and her nephew have been fasting for nine days in hopes of drawing the attention of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She said recognition is the only way to ensure its coming-of-age ceremony takes place undisturbed.

"The (Bureau of Indian Affairs) has been basically authorizing this abuse of our ceremony by relegating us to their 'unrecognized' status," Sisk told The Redding Record-Searchlight. "We are fasting and praying because they need to come to the table and fix their mistake."

The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to close a portion of the McCloud River from July 30-July 3 in order to prevent boaters and others from disrupting the tribe's ceremony. The agency has previously been reluctant to act because the tribe lacks federal status.

Get the Story:
Tribe leader urges federal status; recognition cited as route to closing area for Lake Shasta ceremony (The Redding Record-Searchlight 6/27)

Related Stories:
Forest Service to close a part of river for Winnemem Wintu Tribe (6/22)
Opinion: Winnemem Wintu Tribe deserves respect for ceremony (6/4)
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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