Winnemem Wintu sues for destruction of cultural sites
By Shadi Rahimi,
Indian Country Today correspondent
Calif. – It began with a War Dance ceremony first launched against
the federal government five years ago for its proposal to raise the
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe declared that raising the dam would flood their remaining sacred sites, including Puberty Rock where coming-of-age ceremonies are performed. They opened their ceremony to reporters and drew international attention.
This time, on the banks of the American River April 19, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe danced in the start of what may be a long legal battle with the federal government to formally address centuries of injustice to their people and homeland in Shasta County.
The War Dancers had begun fasting three days prior and prayed until the following day, when a few dozen of the 120-member tribe marched through the state capital to draw attention to the lawsuit they had filed to address their forced removal from their ancestral land on the McCloud and lower Pit rivers and subsequent destruction of cultural sites.