Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 28, 2012

Photos videos: Protecting Winnemem Wintu ceremony 2012

Closing the river

River closed

Forest Service

Forest Service with Winnemem
Photos by Klamath Media. Thank you from Censored News!
Censored News

These photos and video are from this weekend's War Dance and actions that were held to protect the Winnemem Wintu's coming of age ceremony on Shasta Lake later this month. Below is also a link to the press release. Day three was the day that volunteers on boats put up a "River Closed" banner across the water and closed it to speed boat traffic for a few hours.
After many of the supporters had already left the river, what was described as an "armada of thunder-engined powerboats" came through to make a disturbance. (See video 4.)
The presence of any fishing boats or curious vacationers that were not associated with the ceremony or support crews had been disruptive in previous days, but this event was obviously planned with malicious intent based on testimony of the people who were down on the river
when the boats came through.
Stormy Staats,
Klamath Media
Day 1 -- War Dance for Safe Coming of Age Ceremony
Day 2 -- War Dance for Safe Coming of Age Ceremony
Day 3 -- War Dance for Safe Coming of Age Ceremony
Day 4
Boats Close River For Winnemem Wintu Ceremony - May 26 2012

Indybay Dan Bacher: Winnemem Wintu close McCloud River during War Dance:

Release: War Dance Scheduled for May 24-May 27
Photos from Winnemem Wintu May 26th War Dance

Media Coverage

LISTEN: First Voices Indigenous Radio
Host Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Cheyenne River Lakota
WBAI New York
April 19, 2012
CALEEN SISK Tribal Chief- - The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, a band of indigenous people located in Northern California, have appealed to the United States Forest Service’s Regional Forester to temporarily close of part of McCloud River, located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Forty to 60 tribal members and supporters gathered at Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore’s Vallejo office at about 9 a.m. Monday to picket, said Caleen Sisk, the Winnemem Wintu tribal chair. John Heil, a press officer for the regional forester, confirmed that range of protesters.
After an hour of picketing, Regional Forester Moore came out and addressed the group, said Sisk. She said Moore was receptive and that he did "the respectful thing" by listening to protesters’ concerns. The Forest Service's Heil said Moore will work with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest supervisor in making a decision on the river closure request.
The four-day mandatory closure would allow the tribe to carry out a traditional coming-of-age ceremony, Balas Chonas, in which teenage girls spend four days in prayer and communion with elder women before swimming across the lake and symbolically entering adulthood.
This is the not the first time the Winnemem Tribe has appealed to have the area shut down during Balas Chonas. Since 2005 they have sought to have the area temporarily closed to the public for the religious ceremony, but have only been granted "voluntary closure," in which the area is not physically closed off.

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