Since assuming leadership of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in 2000, Sisk has focused on uplifting the cultural and religious traditions of the tribe, such as the revitalization of the Winnemem’s H’up Chonas (War Dance) and BaLas Chonas (Puberty Ceremony), according to a press release.
The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment announced Winnemem Wintu tribal chief and spiritual leader Caleen Sisk as the winner of the 2019 Anthony Grassroots Prize, an annual $1,000 Earth Day award recognizing an outstanding example of grassroots environmental activism.
Since assuming leadership of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in 2000, Sisk has focused on uplifting the cultural and religious traditions of the tribe, such as the revitalization of the Winnemem’s H’up Chonas (War Dance) and BaLas Chonas (Puberty Ceremony), according to a press release. She also advocates tirelessly for salmon restoration, the undamming of rivers and lakes, and the basic human right to clean water.
Sisk is currently leading the tribe’s resistance against the proposal to raise the Shasta Dam, and is “an integral voice in the efforts to bring salmon home to the tribe’s sacred watershed above the dam,” the release states.
Westlands Water District recently held public scoping hearings under California’s Environmental Quality Act for a plan to raise California’s largest dam, the Shasta Dam, by 18 feet. If the dam raise is implemented, not only would it harm salmon and violate California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but it would also flood the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s remaining ceremonial lands, the release asserts.
In a recent article by KQED, Sisk warned that nearly all of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s remaining sacred sites would be put permanently underwater by the reservoir’s expansion.
“The tribe has already faced the intergenerational injustice of losing 26 miles of their sacred lands along the McCloud River in the original building of the Shasta Dam; and the current remaining sites would be positioned permanently underwater with the dam’s expansion,” according to the press release.
To learn more about Sisk and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, visit: www.winnememwintu.us/caleen-sisk
The Anthony Grassroots Prize was endowed by Juliette Anthony, a lifelong environmental activist
Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment supports community-based advocacy to protect the environment and public health through grant-making and direct service programs. Rose Foundation’s focus includes grassroots activism, watershed protection, environmental justice, and consumer rights. To learn more about the Rose Foundation, please visit http://rosefdn.org.