Why the First People oppose the tunnels

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Winnemem Wintu tribe government liaison Gary Mulcahy speaks at a Restore the Delta press conference in Stockton on Monday. CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD

 

One bad aspect of WaterFix I failed to fully appreciate is the impact the twin tunnels would have on the Winnemem Wintu Tribe of Northern California. I knew they ate salmon via subsistence fishing, and that water diversions have drastically reduced their catch. But salmon are actually the nucleus of their whole culture.

“In our creation story we were brought forth from a sacred spring on Mt. Shasta,” a tribal representative says in Restore the Delta’s new report. “We were pretty helpless, couldn’t speak, pretty insignificant. But the Salmon, the Nur, took pity on us and gave us their voice, and in return we promised to always speak for them.”

The Winnemen Wintu see Shasta Dam, which flooded 90 percent of their lands without compensation, as a “weapon of mass destruction.” Y0u can imagine what they think of WaterFix.

 

 

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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