• Petitioned U.S. District Attorney Benjamin Wagner

This petition was delivered to:

U.S. District Court of Eastern California
U.S. District Attorney Benjamin Wagner
U.S. Forest Service Chief
Tom Tidwell
Senior Adviser for Tribal Affairs, USDA
Janie Hipp
Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service
Randy Moore

Rescind the Ceremony Citations Against Winnemem Chief Sisk

    1. Petition by

      Winnemem Wintu

After public pressure helped secure a river closure so the Winnemem Wintu could hold our Coming of Age ceremony in peace and dignity free of public harassment this July, the Forest Service displayed their true colors.

While we were threatened by the public on land and water, U.S.F.S. law enforcement harassed us constantly, and used our own closure against us. They tried to stop us from using our own motor boat to ferry elders, including disabled women, across the river for ceremonial purposes. 

They ended up writing our Chief two citations, each punishable by $5,000 or 6 months, for using a boat to ferry elders across the river in the closure area.

Getting the elders across the river is an important part of the ceremony, and the citations represent an effort to limit and restrict indigenous religious practices. This is the same government that, in California, sponsored a genocide against Indians, and has a history of making Indian religion a criminal act.

In addition to being a strike against religious freedom, the citations could lead to the Chief being sent to prison for a year. This would mean the tribe could not hold its ceremonies, and its efforts to protect sacred sites would be crippled.

This injustice is unnecessary, and a cruel and unusual punishment against a people who have already suffered greatly at the government's hands. It must be stopped.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Rally for Justice for Chief Sisk to be held Tuesday, Oct. 16

      The Winnemem Wintu Tribe will hold a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Redding to call for justice and for the court to rescind the punitive citations served on Chief Caleen Sisk at the end of the traditional Balas Chonas (Coming of Age Ceremony) in July.

      On receiving the citations (with penalties totaling $10,000 in fines or one year in prison), Chief Sisk stated, “These citations are against everything that we fought for in getting the closure, and it shows their unwillingness to allow us to carry on our ceremony in peace and dignity. This is total harassment.”

      The rally will be at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Federal Courthouse in Redding at 2689 Bechelli Lane.

      http://www.winnememwintu.us/2012/10/11/court-rally-press-release/

      RALLY TO PROTEST US FOREST SERVICE CITATIONS OF CHIEF CALEEN SISK

      Winnemem Wintu Tribe Describes USFS Charges as Retaliation Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Time: 8:00 AM Location: East California Federal Courthouse 2689 Bechelli Lane, Redding, CA. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe will hold a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Redding to call for justice and for the court to rescind the punitive citations served on Chief Caleen Sisk at the end of the traditional Balas Chonas (Coming of Age Ceremony) in July.

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

      • almost 2 years ago

      It's confirmed. The charges have been officially dismissed by the federal court! Thanks for all your support! We believe you made the difference and brought justice!

      http://www.redding.com/news/2012/oct/15/illegal-boating-citation-dismissed-against-winneme/

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Cecilia Goode CAMARILLO, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL PLEASE !~

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Caleb Sponholtz SIMI VALLEY, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      It's disgusting the game our government plays with the idigenous (Native) people of this land. The acts of intentive genocide wasn't enough apparently. It's current events like this and the history of the USA that brings shame to being a European decendent.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Phillip Ranelli SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      Religious-spiritual FREEDOM (period). The ever expanding prejudices of "humans", insensitivity to others, and outright stupidity of government (people who think they have "power") is mind boggling. Please respect native traditions that pat respect to MotherEarth (pachamama) and do the right thing (for once).

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • elisa young SANTA BARBARA, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      No man is free till all men are free. I believe it is in Indigenous wisdom that will save our planet...

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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