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The War Dance of the Winnemem Wintu


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Members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe in Northern California.  Source: Portland Indymedia

Members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe in Northern California. Source: Portland Indymedia

The genocide of Native Americans was one of the largest mass killings in human history. Very few tribes survived and were able to maintain their languages and traditions, and for many, the threat to their culture continues even to this day. On this edition, Making Contact trainee producers Rachel Gelfand and Michael Preston bring us the story of the Winnemem Wintu, a small Indian tribe in Northern California, and tell the story of their struggle to prevent the flooding of the sacred land they have called home for centuries.


Caleen Sisk-Franco, Winnemem Wintu spiritual leader and chief; Mark Franco, Winnemem Wintu tribal headman and spokesperson; Jill Ward, Heleen Sisk and Sarah Haase, Winnemem Wintu tribal members; Debbie Davis, Environmental Justice Coalition water analyst; Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League water policy advisor for Sacramento; Sarah Woolf, Westlands Water District spokesperson.

We are commited to training and airing the work of young producers. This program was produced by Data Center interns Rachel Gelfand and Michael Preston. The Data Center received financial support from the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation for this radio work.

For more information:

Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Westlands Water District

Winnemem Wintu Tribe: The Long Journey to Justice

For Additional Information:

Bureau of Indian Affairs

California Department of Water Resources

Data Center

Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Nature Conservancy

U.S. Department of Reclamation

Other Articles and Books:

Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation

Author: Radio Project

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