Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Caleen Sisk's Camera Dance Fake Regalia? Misrepresentation of Wintu Songs, regailia, Wintu Culture

The Dance at Shasta Dam

Sisk led her "people" to hold a dance in her effort to counter the NON-ISSUE of the raising of shasta dam.

Question remains as to her aquisition of the land, and regailia, belonging ot the late flora jones last spiritual leader recognised by the wintu people and/ or the wintu tribe.

On wintu member named this historic blatant misrepresentation of wintu culture The "Camera Dance" shorty after the dance itself. Reportedly because there were actually camera men and audio men shooting a documentaryof the event with Sisk and the WWO with boom microphones actually moving around in front of the witnu members that were there to view there alleged "ceremony".

She billed this event in the news as a "war dance". Click on the link to read earth first's story of the event.


Enrollen Wintu Tribal Member said...

Wenamem Fraud- WWO Wenamem Wintu Organization, Caleen Sisk, Marc Franco

- continues to assume sole leadership of said org.

- continues to use a non wintu person (marc franco) in the media and in the public as a traditional wintu "headman", a term who's use is European in origin and is revealing as to its apparent target audience. (spin factor) (note trad. term is "Wi' "

- denial of inclusion to other wintu persons in traditional events.

-denial of inclusion of salmon donated for dam ceremony by wintu tribal members

- (this is my favorite) after denying wintu members inclusion in the dam ceremony, or accepting trad. harvested salmon by other wintu members for the dam ceremony, turn and publicly proclaim that it was "wenemem tribal members harvesting salmon on the Sacramento river".

- to date Caleen Sisk, or Mr. Franco (who's lineage as native American is in question) have never contacted or returned contact concerning Mr.. root salmon harvesting, nor any of their alleged (current) 125 WWO members participated in any way with the salmon harvesting, as result of Sisk- Franco's in-action after being approached by Root.

- Sisk- Franco public proclamation in the press that the wintu people no longer exist (record searchlight 2001)

- sisk- franco's link to hard core environmental organizations like green peace, and the sierra club.

- WWO benefit unilaterally from education funding recently cut off when the state found out only sisk and her cosigliarities were the only wintu receiving federal aid for higher education. (csu chico position native co-ordiantor 1994-1996, press enterprise 1995).

- The wintu as a whole do not receive aid from the federal government as a result of bureaucratic oversight (2002 CILS)

- Sisk- Ward resolution, pair seperate from tribe and proclaim to start a new org, the WWO is born.

- 2004 the Sisk Franco WWO board tried and failed to have the not for profit WWO written into the Toyon Constitution.

- the same wording removed later by general membership vote of the WINTU TRIBE, would have handed the WWO and its subsequent head ms. caleen sisk sole and perpetual leadership of spiritual and cultural (that is repatriation, archaeological and land protection) leadership.

- in 2004 the initial roll prepared for the wintu tribe of nor cal, was set at 91, later it was circulated the roll had ballooned as a result of enrollment procedures, the new number was 179, the same number she used to describe HER WWO membership to the press in the spring of 2004 to the record searchlight.

- her use of the psudo- heir apparent role of the "shaman" of the wintu tribe and her husband a admitted non-wintu as headman, to gain federal and state status as MLD for either the mcloud area in any capacity without either answering to any tribal body, or demonstrating their descendency to the area to the state's heritage commission.

- the above- to also repatriate remains that are not her or the WWO memberships genetic ancestors. In violation of federal law.

- misuse and disrespect of said remains in violation of elder committee recommendations or any larger oversight from the larger wintu tribal government.

- unilateral deciding the disposition of remains mentioned above.

- misrepresentation to resource org's, state agencies, and the federal government as the representation to the wintu people, wintu tribe, or any/ all of the actual We- na- mem members alive today.

- personal gain and or benefit not reviewed by the IRS from not for profit or private donations in the name of the Wintu people of Wintu Tribe or real We namem lineal descendants.

- unilaterally trying to command land claims for sole WWO benefit to the inundated lands under the waters of Shasta lake, without consulting of even attempting to contact actual lineal descendants as to the future or current representation or disposition of said former IIA's.

- a entire lack of a true genetic link to individuals having received or occupied land granted by the federal government as land to be used as tribal land, ie IIA's.

- floras private land has one arch site, it is state law protected as confidential information caleen has repeatedly disclosed in the press and an unknown number of other instances disclosed the location and disposition of confidential archaeological sites in the press and in the public. in violation of state and federal law.'

- floras land was owned by her husband initially a homestead, with white owners. It never previously was an Indian allotment (IIA) nor was it initially granted at all from the public domain to any Indian.

- the site on floras historic home, is identified clearly as a Pui dal pom (flat land in the east) band wintu site and not we-ne-mem at all, the word of which means the mccloud river.

- Ms sisk has repeatedly misrepresented the tribe on archaeological site excavations, actions that have proven unfortunately damaging for the already sensitive relationship with not only state and federal agencies but also local private mitigators.

Wenamem Wintu Indian
Enrolled Toyon Wintu Member

Enrollen Wintu Tribal Member said...

a release on sisk's Camera Dance

revolutionary socialists in the United States
News & Views
Native Americans Fight Shasta Dam Expansion
by Adam Ritscher

This past year has proven to be a hard one for Native American tribes in California. The endured hardships have ranged from state government attacks on Native casinos to Governor Schwartzeneger’s recent vetoing of legislation that would have banned the use of the term “Redskins” by athletic schools in the state.

The most recent battle has broken out in the small community of Shasta Lake along the McCloud River. It is here, along the banks of Shasta Lake, that the Winnemem Wintu nation lives. This small tribe, with only125 members left, clings to a 42-acre ranch in Jones Valley, where 23 Winnemem Wintu still live.

It is also the location of the Shasta Dam, which the government and developers want to expand.

Construction on the original Shasta dam began in 1938. It ended up being one of the largest concrete dams in the world, and despite impassioned opposition from Native peoples, the dam was built and hundreds of acres of their homeland was flooded. The Winnemem Wintu were never compensated for this loss of land. And in fact today the federal government adds insult to injury by refusing to even recognize the Winnemem Wintu as a tribe.

Today’s talk of expanding the dam and reservoir are motivated by the growing need for water in California’s urban centers and for use by corporate agribusiness. The Winnemem Wintu, however, state that even a minimal boost in the reservoir's capacity jeopardizes ceremonial grounds still used by tribe members near where the McCloud joins Shasta Lake. It would also flood tribal burial grounds, a site upon which 42 Natives were massacred at 150 years ago, a place where girls pass into adulthood, called Puberty Rock, and another sacred place called Children's Rock.

To protest this grave threat to their livelihood and identity the Winnemem Wintu held their first war dance since 1887.

According to tribal chief Caleen Sisk-Franco “The war dance itself is a message, a message to the world that we can’t stand to put up with this again. We’ve already lost too many sacred sites to the lake. To lose more is like cutting the legs off all the tribal members.”

A number of environmental activists and other progressives have also come out in opposition to the proposed Shasta Lake dam expansion. It remains to be seen though if California’s pro-business government will be swayed by this moving stand of the beleaguered Winnemem Wintu nation.

Enrollen Wintu Tribal Member said...

The Winnemem Wintu
Waging War on Shasta Dam

Earth First

Just before dusk on September 12, on a grassy area overlooking the massive gray presence of Shasta dam and the blue waters of the sprawling reservoir behind it, a small group of dancers and singers dressed in traditional regalia lit a sacred fire.

A wooden drum began a slow, steady beat, and the singers started a rhythmic, wailing song. An ancient ceremonial war dance began. For four days and nights, the Winnemem Wintu fasted, danced, sang and prayed. As each man stepped toward the fire, he shouted a throaty Hup!—the Wintu word for “war”—raised his bow, arrow and dance stick and thrust them toward the dam.

The Winnemem Wintu are called the “middle water” people. They are a small, traditional band of the once-mighty Wintu language group that lived between the Oregon border and northern California. For more than 1,000 years, the Winnemem lived along the McCloud River, known as the middle river because it runs between the Sacramento and the Pitt Rivers. All three rivers now flow into the man-made Shasta Lake.

When Shasta dam was constructed in the late 1930s, the Winnemem’s villages and burial grounds were inundated. Now, they are under assault again. Their sacred sites and traditional ways of life are being threatened by the US Bureau of Reclamation’s (BuRec) proposal to raise Shasta dam in order to create more water storage and to generate more power for California’s growing population. After losing much of their homeland to the dam, to wealthy Californians who favor the fishing grounds along the McCloud, and to the national forests, the Winnemem are desperate to save what remains.

The last time the Winnemem invoked the War Dance was in 1887, when a fish hatchery on the McCloud River was the enemy and protecting the salmon and the Wintu way of life was the focus. More than 100 years later, the shadow of Shasta dam, already an implement of destruction to the Winnemem, looms large. The tribe tires of meeting endlessly with government agencies while never getting its needs met. When the Winnemem heard about plans to raise the dam, they were not sure what to do. “We prayed on it, and we were told to hold a War Dance,” said Caleen Sisk-Franco, Winnemem spiritual and tribal leader. “Our ancestors showed us the way with the dance against the fish hatchery. We gave up a lot of our homeland for the sake of the California people and got nothing in return. Now you want to take our sacred places, and again we get nothing. How is this fair, over and over again? This is too much to ask of a people.”

The dance was held under a permit issued by BuRec. Just getting the permit was a struggle; BuRec did not want something called a War Dance anywhere near the dam, citing security concerns. Then the local newspaper accused BuRec of not being able to distinguish between a small group of local Indians and terrorists. So BuRec told the tribe that it could have a permit, but there could be no fire or traditional weapons. The Winnemem answered back, with their characteristic good humor, “Gee, does that mean we can bring modern weapons?” Eventually, BuRec relented and permitted the fire, the spears and the traditional ceremony as the Winnemem wanted to do it.

Still, there is a long and troubled history between the tribe and the agency. When Shasta dam was first constructed, Congress promised the Winnemem people compensation, like lands and a cemetery where their dead would be reburied. It promised to hold that cemetery land in trust forever, but those promises have not been kept.

Recently, the tribe held several meetings with BuRec. The tribe questioned BuRec’s plan to raise the dam and the impacts the plan will have. Mark Franco, headman for the village where many members of the tribe now live, speculated that BuRec only wants to know about the sacred sites so that it can flood the area. “The government has no intention of preserving those sites, or our way of life,” he said. Indeed, so far BuRec has had the same effect on the Winnemem that it has had on endangered California salmon—both are just about wiped out.

The Winnemem want their issues addressed now, before BuRec does new studies and considers new plans for the dam. BuRec is currently spending $15 million to study the raising of Shasta dam. This study only considers whether or not the dam should be raised and by how much. It is not considering other options.

The tribe is asking the environmental community to help them articulate the best alternatives to raising the dam. They say that better management and conservation practices for the existing reservoir could supply as much water as raising the dam—and do so more sustainably and at less cost.

At the War Dance, visitors from other Native nations and members of the environmental community came to support the Winnemem. Julia “Butterfly” Hill stayed for several days and told the media that she supports the Winnemem as a matter of conscience. She said that “the sacred” is in peril at this time, in this place, and that coming together and making connections—between groups, with each other, to the water, the fish and to place—is what the environmental movement is all about. Brock Dolman, from the Water Institute at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, spoke about the need to study alternatives to raising the dam. He said that there has been enough damage from the Dam Age, and we should be thinking about razing the dam instead.

As the days wore on, still the fire burned. Day and night, the drum would sound, calling the dancers back into the arbor of Douglas fir that they had built. The singers would start and the dancers would line up, their deer toe rattles jangling. They would dance their prayers into the ground and cry out against the dam. Every day an osprey circled above, once dropping a feather into the arbor. A bald eagle angled in to get a view. Back and forth, it was a call and response. As the prayers were carried out over the water, the physical world answered.

By the fourth day, some of the older dancers were weary. But as the ceremony came to a close, a resurgence of power and energy seemed to take over. Voices were strong, the dancing was robust, and the prayers were fervent. Anyone who witnessed this historic event was impressed and deeply moved. It was a moment in time when the sacred was clear and present.

This small, traditional tribe had worked hard to do this dance. For days and weeks beforehand, a handful of people worked on the complicated regalia. Each bead, each feather and each shell was lovingly sewn or glued; the eagle bone whistles were carved; the traditional weapons were strung. The dances and songs were practiced. Then, finally, after it was all over, the moment came when the women put down their wooden clappers and took off their fur headdresses. The men stripped down and dove into the cool waters of the reservoir to seal in their newfound power. The fire was extinguished. The entire tribe let out a shout. They hugged and cried. They were warriors now. They were exhilarated and energized, ready to go forward, confident and clear about their goals. BuRec has never seen the likes of this.

Claire Hope Cummings has been the tribal lawyer for the Winnemem for the last 15 years. She is committed to protecting the McCloud River through her work as a lawyer and a writer, which she does without pay, saying she doesn’t mind working for “Winnemem wage.”

Enrollen Wintu Tribal Member said...

Yup, you can guarentee Caleen and Marc are Workin' real hard for you and me wintu's out there! And with our best interests in mind! Evereyones interests!

Enrollen Wintu Tribal Member said...

Land sale fuels fear of higher dam at Shasta

The Fresno-based Westlands Water District -- already the largest agricultural user of Northern California water -- has spent nearly $35 million to purchase 3,000 acres of land on the McCloud River to make it easier to one day raise Shasta Dam.

The land acquired by Westlands would be sold to the federal government and inundated if officials and lawmakers decided to raise the dam.

Located on the property is the private Bollibokka fishing club, built in 1904 by the founders of Hills Brothers Coffee, and 26 Winnemem Wintu Indian villages with burial grounds. The Indians worry that their access to sacred sites could be blocked by Westlands.

"Our purpose in buying the property was only to ensure there would be no additional impediments if the (federal) Bureau of Reclamation concludes it's feasible to raise the dam," said Tom Birmingham, general manager and general counsel for Westlands. The Indians "have conducted cultural activities there. I don't see any reason why they couldn't continue to do that."

Westlands' goal of capturing more water in Lake Shasta would help make more water available to the 600 farmers it serves. Those farmers now, on average, receive only 65 percent of the annual 1.15 million acre-feet they are entitled to under the district's contract with the federal government. Any extra water the district receives could be sold at higher prices to urban users.

An acre-foot is 325,853 gallons -- roughly the annual amount of water used annually by a family of four.

Indians, anglers and environmentalists, who all oppose raising Shasta Dam, decried the sale to Westlands, which was completed Jan. 12, saying a higher dam represents a loss of irreplaceable river.

"It's going to inundate some wonderful, wonderful trout water and some very beautiful natural resources," said Duane Milleman, manager of guide services at the Fly Shop in Redding. "That's scaring a lot of people."

One prospective buyer of the property wanted to develop the property and create a subdivision of vacation homes. Westlands feared that more residents living in an area inundated by a higher dam "would create a greater impediment to the potential raising," Birmingham said.

That fear -- and what Birmingham described as a "bidding war" for the property -- led the water district to pay the Hills family $11,600 an acre -- a purchase price nearly $5 million higher than the Hills' $30 million asking price. Birmingham said the water district would contract with someone to operate the fishing club.

"This was a case of a willing buyer, willing seller," said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a supporter of raising the dam.

"It is in California's long-term interest to preserve the option of providing additional flood control, more cold water for the Sacramento River salmon fishery, more generation of electricity from clean hydropower and additional surface space at Shasta Dam," Feinstein said.

The federal government has been studying the environmental impact and feasibility of heightening the dam since 2000 and expects to complete its review by fall 2008. Birmingham predicted it would be decades before the dam was raised, if Congress approves the project.

For the 120 Winnemem Wintu tribe members who live near the McCloud, the land around Bollibokka contains sacred places and 26 village sites, each with undisturbed burial grounds.

"We need those lands to survive. By facilitating the dam being raised, Westlands is engaging in cultural genocide," said Mark Franco, whose tribal title is "head man."

In the 1850s, there were some 14,000 Winnemem Wintu on the McCloud. By 1900, just 395 remained, according to Caleen Sisk-Franco, the tribe's chief and spiritual leader. Tribal members who fought in World War II returned home in 1945 to find Shasta Dam completed and their old homes underwater.

In 2000, the Bureau of Reclamation first proposed raising the 602-foot tall dam by 6.5 to 18.5 feet, prompting the remaining Winnemem Wintu to declare war on the United States.

The Winnemem Wintu are not a federally recognized tribe, which means they have less power to prevent potential destruction of their village sites and sacred places.

"This land is what makes us what we are," said Sisk-Franco. "We will fight to the end."

Leighton Hills, who managed Bollibokka fishing club for his elderly parents, said one of the conditions of sale to Westlands was that the water district continue to allow the Wintu access to their sacred sites.

"Westlands has a varied reputation in some parts of the state relative to environmental issues," Hills said in an interview. "But in terms of their willingness to be responsive to our concerns, they've been great."

Sale of the property was driven by estate planning and a desire to avoid having 50 percent of the asset lost to federal inheritance tax, Hills said.

It was purchased for $5 an acre by Hills' great-grandfather Austin Hills and his brother Rueben after Southern Pacific decided to lay its tracks along the Sacramento River instead of the McCloud.

A number of wealthy San Franciscans have been members of the club over the past 103 years. Its members opposed raising the dam because it would destroy the prime trout water running through the 7-mile stretch of river where the property is located.

"The McCloud certainly ranks among the best fly-fishing streams I've been on," said Birmingham, who has fished at Bollibokka, which means "black manzanita" in Wintu, and elsewhere in the West.

Unlike some of the Winnemem Wintu sites, the club's buildings will survive even if the dam is raised by 18.5 feet, Hills said. The lowest building, called "The Rock House" and built by Winnemem Wintu tribe members, is 33 feet above maximum reservoir level.

Allied with the Wintu are several environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is working with the tribe to win recognition by the federal government.

"This purchase is a five-fer for Westlands," said Barry Nelson, senior policy analyst for the NRDC. "It eliminates an opponent of the dam, heads off the tribe, blocks any development, the district will be bought out with public funds if the dam is raised, and they can use the fishing club to lobby for the project."

Westlands has long been a target of criticism from environmentalists.

Farm drainage water from some of Westlands' 600,000 acres along the western side of the San Joaquin Valley carries heavy amounts of selenium, which can poison wildlife. Westlands has successfully sued to force the federal government to clean up the toxic water.

Jack Trout, a guide on the McCloud for 16 years, learned of the possible land sale when he was taking a group out to the Bollibokka last October and encountered Birmingham, whom he had guided before, and a local real estate agent looking over Bollibokka.

Trout wrote an angry blog about the potential sale and his chance encounter with Birmingham, who disputes Trout's account.

Trout remains angered by the sale, fearing not just a loss of livelihood but of something deeper.

"The river has given me life. The river was there before the Hills family, before the Wintu Indians. All we have in the end is the river, and we have to protect it."