The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, fishing groups and environmentalists have been fighting a federal plan to raise Shasta Dam for many years, since the 18-1/2 foot proposed dam raise would flood many of the Tribe's remaining sacred sites and further imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Sacramento River.
The Tribe held a war dance at Shasta Dam in September 2004 to oppose the dam raise - and conducted another war dance in September 2014 to oppose the dam expansion and the Brown Water Plan to drain the Delta.
“Any raising of the dam, even a few feet, will flood some of our last remaining sacred sites on the McCloud River – sites we still use today,” said Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Chief and Spiritual Leader. "We can't be Winnemem any place else but the McCloud River. The dam raise is a form of cultural genocide."
“We pray that the spirit beings hear us and bring all of our helpers, from the high mountain meadows all of the way to the ocean,” she stated before the war dance began. “Our concern is the health of the waterways. We are here at the dam that blocks the salmon on a river that should be full of salmon.”
She described Shasta Dam as “a weapon of mass destruction” against the Winnemem Wintu and said the idea of dams is a “horrible archaic project.”