Saturday, March 31, 2012

Please Write and Send Two Letters Today for justice

Please write a letter to Ms. J. Sharon Heywood, Forest Supervisor/Shasta-Trinity National Forest/3644 Avtech Parkway/Redding CA 96002 and cc: Randy Moore, Regional Supervisor/ Pacific Southwest Region/1323 Club Drive/Vallejo, CA 94592

Here is the issue, and thank you for taking some time for Marisa and her right to religious freedom and safety, and her right to be a strong traditional Winnemem woman and future Chief of her tribe.

In 2004, Chief Caleen Sisk brought back the Coming of Age Ceremony
after a decades-long interruption due to the drowning of the Winnemem
homeland by Shasta Dam. At that time, and again in 2010, Supervisor
Heywood refused to impose a mandatory closure and only approved
a “voluntary closure.” As a result, the ceremonial participants, elders,
children, and guests suffered racist taunts and heckling, and even a
drunken woman flashing her breasts, from boaters who ignored the
“closure”. Both years, law enforcement had to close the river during the
fourth day of the ceremony due to serious safety concerns. A video of
the incidents during the 2006 ceremony is posted on the tribe’s YouTube

We have exhausted all options in trying to convince Shasta Trinity Supervisor Sharon
Heywood to close a short 300 yard stretch of the McCloud River, where it runs through the ancestral village of Kaibai and meets Shasta Lake in Northern California during our Coming of Age Ceremonies for our young women.

Please respect our young Winnemem women’s right to become strong traditional women.
Please use your authority to order the mandatory closure of a short 300 yard section of the McCloud River for our “distinctive traditional practices.” While it may be a small inconvenience for the USFS, for the Winnemem it means the future of our people, because it is the traditional women who are the foundation of the tribe. Our goal is very simple – that the Forest Service honor the provisions of the UN DRIP, signed in 2011
by President Obama, and federal and state laws which protect the rights of indigenous women and their ceremonies and traditions.

Friday, March 30, 2012

It's a Matter of Human Rights

I'm putting this up for you to see -- a new improved youtube video by Will -- to ask you to please help us with my next post. This summer the next chief of the Winnemem must go through her Coming of Age Ceremony, but once again, the Supervisor of Shasta Trinity, Sharon Heywood, is convinced that a "voluntary closure" has proven successful by turning away 90 percent of the recreational boaters during our ceremony. The ten percent who come through to harass and interfere doesn't bother her. The fact that the Sheriff or a Ranger must eventually use their own authority to close it down on the fourth day when people swim across doesn't faze her either. Sharon Heywood looks at the tribe as real second class citizens and looks at our religious freedom as a non-existent right rather than an inalienable human right.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writer's Block, RIP

It's been a long time since I've written from Outside the Belly. Our lives sort of tipped on its axis for awhile. Being Winnemem became harder than usual. But we got through it still believing that it's still the "hardest and the best life in the world" for us. So here lies Writer's Block, may it rest in peace, and with it, the weirdness of 2011.
"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.