Winnemem Wintu leaders, journalists and legal experts to hold live panel on the Shasta Dam raise

  • Published on July 31st, 2020

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe has led the resistance against the proposed Shasta Dam raise since the early 2000s, and now the Trump administration and Westlands Water District are using the cover of Covid-19 to fast-track the project in possible violation of state, federal and International law.

Winnemem Wintu Leaders, Journalists and Legal Experts to Hold Live Panel on the Shasta Dam Raise

By Dan Bacher

The general public can learn more about the latest updates in the legal fight against the dam raise from Winnemem Wintu leaders, journalists and legal experts during the Resisting the Shasta Dam Raise live panel discussion 7 p.m. Pacific Time, Friday, July 31.

The discussion can be viewed from the Run4Salmon Facebook page – – where it will also be saved to view for people who miss the live broadcast.

Panelists include:
• Caleen Sisk – Winnemem Wintu Hereditary Chief and Spiritual Leader
• Mark Miyoshi – Winnemem Wintu Tribal Historic Preservation Officer
• Luisa Navejas – Winnemem Wintu Mount Shasta District Representative
• Deborah Sivas – Director, Stanford Environmental Law Clinic
• Dan Bacher – Journalist & Editor, Fish Sniffer Magazine

More than 75 years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Bureau of Indian Affairs removed Winnemem Wintu people from their homes along the Winnemem Waywacket (McCloud River) in order to clear the way for the construction of the 600-foot Shasta Dam, which flooded 27 miles of the waterway.

The Winnemem Wintu never received any compensation or like lands as promised by an Act of Congress in 55 Stat. 612 for the inundation of the river.  Even as they still recover from the dam-induced diaspora they continue to fight the proposed raise, which would flood and impact more than 40 sacred sites still accessible to the tribe  in order to enrich wealthy agriculturalists in the San Joaquin valley.

The proposed raise also violates several articles of the United Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was endorsed by the United States during the Obama Administration.  The UNDRIP is a codified set of standard international human rights translated for the needs of Indigenous Peoples and requires the federal government to obtain the Tribe’s free, prior and informed consent for any project that would devastated ancestral homelands.

Not only would the raise enlarge the storage capacity of an already mercury-impaired Shasta Lake, the raise would also, according to federal studies, inundate uncapped mines, increasing the load of toxic chemicals into the waters that support humans and myriad ecosystems.

During the discussion, the panelists will explain how the Shasta Dam raise should be seen as not an isolated project but related to Trump’s re-writing of biological opinions to facilitate more water diversions to agribusinesses.

They also discuss how these projects and water diversions are  designed to facilitate the pumping of Indigenous and public water resources to corporate agri-businesses at the expense of imperiled salmon and the communities that depend upon them.

Join via the Run4Salmon Facebook page to find out the current status of the Shasta Dam raise and how Winnemem resistance is protecting salmon, people and the life of the water from this potentially destructive project. Water is life!

The Resisting Shasta Dam panel is part of the 2020 Covid-Safe virtual Run4Salmon, an Indigenous led prayerful journey focused on supporting the Winnemem Wintu’s efforts to return their Nur (salmon) home to the Winnemem Waywacket (McCloud River). Learn more about Run4Salmon at

About the Author

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento who focuses on California's water issues, a healthy environment for the salmon fishery of the Northwest, and the attempts by big agriculture and big oil to hog all the water.

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