One Year Later and Still No Protection for Our Young Tribal Women

Caleen Sisk-Franco and Marisa, this year's celebrant, watch an eagle fly across the McCloud River canyon.

It’s been almost a year since Jessica and Winona’s Coming of Age Ceremony during which several boats ignored the voluntary river closure and interrupted our ceremony. While there was no incidents as ugly as 2006, the boats filled our tribe with a sense of dread and fear. It was still unacceptable.

The U.S. Forest Service continues to refuse to provide the mandatory closure for this year’s ceremony, which is even more important to the future of the Tribe.

This year’s celebrant is Marisa, who’s training to be the Winnemem’s next leader. Any significant disruption to the ceremony could not only affect Marisa’s future but also that of the Tribe, which faces many challenges, including a proposal to raise the Shasta Dam.

The 2008 Farm Bill provides the Forest Service with the authority to close the river for ceremony, but they refuse to do so because we’re “federally unrecognized”. The absurdity of this argument, especially because the Forest Service has maintained a relationship with the Winnemem that spans more than 100 years, is spelled out in this old post.

They have not provided any reasonable solutions or alternatives to this policy, but we are still fighting for the closure. Here is how you can join with us.

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