Saturday, March 20, 2010

We Have To Do More Than Pray. We Have To Follow Through.

I think I'll do some magic to add to this effort.

As the Winnemem see it, the tribe’s troubles began in early 1940s, with the completion of the Shasta Dam, which blocked the Sacramento River and cut off the lower McCloud River, obstructing seasonal salmon runs, and according to the tribe, breaking a covenant with the fish.

“We’re going to atone for allowing them to build that dam,” said Mark Franco, the tribe’s headman. “We should have fought harder.”

As luck would have it, the United States government once bred millions of Chinook eggs from the McCloud and shipped them around the world in hopes of creating new fisheries, including a batch that went to the South Island of New Zealand, where the fish thrived.

. . .

On Friday night, more than two dozen Native Americans embarked from here on a spiritual mission to New Zealand, where they will ask their fish to come home to California.

The unusual journey centers on an apology, to be relayed to the fish on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance that tribal leaders say has not been performed in more than 60 years.

. . .

Once in New Zealand, the Winnemem plan to rendezvous with local Maori leaders and stage a four-day ceremony starting March 28 that will culminate with the rare “nur chonas winyupus,” or middle water salmon dance.

The Francos say they intend to ask local fish and game officials if they can bring back some of New Zealand’s salmon eggs — once of California stock — back to the McCloud. “We have to do more than pray,” Ms. Sisk-Franco said. “We have to follow through.”

And, BTW, USF&WS: You're assholes.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service denied the tribe permission to take much of its ceremonial regalia — including hawk, woodpecker and vulture feathers — though its eagle headgear was approved. “Win some, lose some,” Mr. Franco said.

Are you in?

Picture found here.

1 comment:

erin Dragonsong said...

This is so great to hear (except the narrow-minded regulations on their ritual gear). Thanks for sharing this; it warms my heart. I love hearing how people are working for healing of the Earth. And to take responsibility rather than lay blame, to ask forgiveness rather than accuse and demand... the process itself is part of the healing!

With Blessings,

erin Dragonsong