Will and I are enthusiastic about another opportunity to travel, this time, on behalf of the salmon and the Winnemem River. The Winnemem Tribe have been invited by the Ngai Tahu tribe of the Maori who live along the Rakaia River to come to New Zealand. The Winnemem were told that their fish had been sent to New Zealand about eighty years ago and the Ngai Tahu have taken care of them. The tribe have extended an invitation anytime to the Winnemem to come and sing for their fist in the Rakaia River. Head Man Mark Franco has kept in contact with the Ngai Tahu. And this year, we are thinking of taking that historic journey.
For the Salmon to be safe in their river, fish ladders must be built over Shasta Lake Dam, any developments threatening to their survival should stop, and the people must continue to sing the songs, dance, keep up the ceremonies. The Winnemem are committed to their historic responsibilities to the salmon. Some federal organizations interested in protection of the oceans are concerned about the health of the salmon and the McCloud River. The Winnemem are willing to make this great journey with War Dance to the Rakaia River with the gracious hospitality of the Ngai Tahu, and will begin the steps of preparing the fish of an even greater journey home.
As our part in this the Winnemem Support Group of Oregon is taking on a project and we call it Bringing the Salmon Home. Anyone of you who are interested in joining, we welcome you. Just download the information. Our goal at the earliest is to send the Winnemem leaders and war dancers January or February 2010, and at the latest, January or February 2011. The salmon run will be January through March.
What: The Ngai Tahu Tribe of the Maori people who live along the Rakaia River in New Zealand have invited the Winnemem to come and sing for their fish. Back in the late 1800's, salmon eggs or fry were sent around the world. The salmon from the Winnemem hatchery on the Winnemem (McCloud) River were sent to New Zealand After the Shasta Dam was built in the 1940’s, and because it was constructed with no fish ladders, the salmon of the Winnemem do not come up the river anymore. The Ngai Tahu people have assured the Winnemem that when the conditions are right for the salmon, they would most assuredly send the fish home.
Why now: A private energy company (Pacific Gas and Electric) is planning on increasing their power output on the McCloud River by constructing an additional power plant on the McCloud River Dam. If the additional power plant is built, its turbines would kill all the fish even if a fish ladder were to be built on Shasta Dam and river flows may not be enough to provide for sufficient flow for the spawning fish and their returning fry. A publicly owned water district (Westlands) located 400 miles from the McCloud recently bought up an area of the river that once belonged to the Winnemem for the expressed purpose of removing any impediment to the raising of Shasta Dam. With the discussion of a power plant and dam raise, it hastens the need to bring the salmon home. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS),two governmental agencies whose work has to do with the health of the oceans and fisheries, are also interested in restocking the Winnemem River, so the tribe is not alone.
How: Chief Caleen Sisk Franco is ready to take the Winnemem and the war dancers to New Zealand March 13 - 27, 2010 during their salmon run. Chief Caleen Sisk Franco, Headman Mark Franco, the war dancers and singers will go to the Rakaia River, build their prayer fire, pray strong prayers and sing for their fish to prepare them for the journey home.
Why: Chief Caleen Sisk Franco began the long struggle to stop the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) from the further raising of Shasta Dam drowning more sacred sites. She teaches all that would listen that salmon are essential for keeping water pure and river systems healthy. She and the warriors will do what needs to be done to bring the fish back from New Zealand’s Rakaia River to a healthy home -- to swim upriver on the Winnemem -- as their ancestors have done from the beginning of time.
HOW CAN YOU HELP: For those who want to contribute to help the Winnemem war dancers, singers and leaders get to New Zealand, you can donate to the:
Winnemem Wintu Organization
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe c/o Indian Cultural Organization.
Both have 501C3 non-profit status.
Send to: Winnemem Wintu
14840 Bear Mountain Road
Redding, CA 96003
For questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
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