Winnemem Wintu Chief Fasting for BIA Protection
- Winnemem Wintu Chief and Tribal Member Fasting Until Bureau of Indian Affairs Stops Authorizing Abuse and Harassment at Young Women’s Ceremony.
US Forest Service hands tied by Bureau of Indian Affairs administrative error.
Redding, CA � Winnemem Wintu Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk and her nephew Arron Sisk have been fasting for eight days and plan to continue until the Bureau of Indian Affairs intervenes to fully protect the site of this week�s Coming of Age ceremony from abuse and harassment from the general public.
After six years of ignoring the tribe�s requests that they protect their young women from harassment, the Forest Service finally did the right thing and announced June 21 that they would enforce a mandatory river closure for the ceremony June 30-July 3 for 16-year-old Marisa Sisk, who is training to be the next chief.
While this was a significant step in acknowledging the tribe�s rights as Indigenous People, Randy Moore, Regional Forester said they can�t keep the general public from wandering through the ceremonial site because the tribe is not federally recognized. If the tribe was federally recognized, then federal law would give the Forest Service the authority to close the area for the ceremony. But, as it stands now, their hands are tied because of the BIA�s failure to include the tribe on their list.
�The BIA has been basically authorizing this abuse of our ceremony by relegating us to their �unrecognized� status,� Sisk said. �We are fasting and praying because they need to come to the table and fix their mistake.�
For more information:
Gary Hayward Slaughter Mulcahy, Government Liaison: 916-214-8493
Tribe leader urges federal status; recognition cited as route to closing area for Lake Shasta ceremony
A Winnemem Wintu tribal leader said Tuesday the only way to ensure the safety and privacy of an upcoming ceremony on Lake Shasta is to give the tribe federal recognition.
Caleen Sisk, the Winnemem chief and spiritual leader, said she started fasting nine days ago with her nephew, Arron, to get the Bureau of Indian Affairs to protect a portion of Lake Shasta from "abuse and harassment from the general public" as the tribe prepares for an upcoming coming-of-age ceremony for its next leader.
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