The Winnemem Wintu Tribe
In their language, Winnemem Wintu translates to Middle Water People, as the McCloud River is bounded by the Upper Sacramento to the West and the Pit River to the East.
The photo below is is on display at the United Nations. The photo is that of their Traditional Leader: Caleen Sisk.
They proudly state “We were born from water, we are of the water, and we fight to protect it.” I feel a link with these People, as one of my personal devotional Goddesses is Yemanja… She of the Waters (my statue, below).
This is a link for their website:
This is a link to the Youtube video I saw:
This video showed Winnemem Wintu tribal members at the US Forest Service Regional headquarters in Vallejo. They were there to ask Randy Moore, Regional Forester, to close the river for their young women’s Coming of Age Ceremony.
I decided I had to write to Randy Moore, as was asked of me. Below is a slightly-edited copy of my e-mail, which was sent this morning from my business account.
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I watched this video, and there you were, Mr. Moore.
I am a Paralegal; I love the law, and I love my country (as a man called out from a boat in the video, “we love America – do you?”). I am a Pagan/Wiccan woman, 56 years of age. My daughter, too, is a Pagan/Wiccan woman. My grandsons are Pagan/Wiccan children. Our faith is nature-based, as is that of the Native Americans. We are close to them, in heart and soul. We respect them, and support them.
My family – and others of my faith – have experienced violence, bigotry and bullying because of our own religious beliefs. Our faith practices include coming of age ceremonies for our young men and women. What I saw in the video was a disgrace.
The grown woman flashing her breasts and cat-calling from a speedboat (in the video; this photo is edited) is a perfect example of what happens when young people don’t experience a meaningful “coming of age” in their own families and cultures, and find that it’s allowed – even encouraged – to disrespect and bully others who are unlike themselves. This sacred location was not Mardi Gras time in The Big Easy, where she would have been encouraged to flash others to receive trinkets and beads. She and her acquaintances were not quietly passing the ceremonial site, showing a respectful interest in a different culture. If that’s all they had been doing, this issue would be moot… but this is not a one-time occurrence.
The Native women in this video made their point, courteously and clearly. I thought I’d write to you, and ask your opinion regarding their request. It seems that a “voluntary closure” of their sacred space does not work. Will you be closing the river for four days out of 365, so these Native American people can hold a sacred ceremony for their young tribe members? Four days, out of 365, is not a lot to ask.
We have heard of too many deaths coming from all sorts of bullying these days. Even children in grade school are killing themselves because of the pain. It’s up to you to do something positive for a change.
I hope to hear from you.
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I signed it with my full name, address, phone number, and job title. I can only hope it makes a difference.
Won’t you please join me by taking a stand in support of our Brothers and Sisters?