The International Centre for Archaeology Underwater
ICAU interviews Caleen
Sisk-Franco, spiritual leader of the Wintu
These transcripts are public, and may be reprinted with proper reference.
ICAU: Thank you for
speaking with us. I would like to ask you a few questions about
CSF: In 1937 [at
the time of the proposed reservoir construction] we had
an act of Congress
ICAU: Was land was given to the tribe during the initial construction of Shasta lake?
CSF: ‘No, land was
set aside for a cemetery, held in trust by the government, but no land was
ICAU: I reviewed the
archaeological survey report by Smith and Weymouth in 1952,
CSF: ‘That’s right.
I am not quite sure what they mean by ‘archaeological’ sites. We have
sites that probably
ICAU: Shasta Lake have
been turned into a recreational reservoir. Research in Australia has
CSF: ‘I think that
is happening. When the water recedes, you can see the oil residue on the
banks. We have
ICAU: The state
government is discussing the possible deconstruction of Hetch Hetchy
CSF: ‘We do have one
site that we use right now that is being damaged by the water when it builds
ICAU: Can you give me some more information on that site?
CSF: ‘That is where our puberty ceremonies used to be held.’
ICAU: Let’s turn to the
new project that is being proposed by the federal government to raise
CSF: ‘They are talking about raising the lake 6 ½ - 200 feet. Their study right now is more detailed at 18 ½ feet.
ICAU: In all of the
documents I have seen so far, no one is discussing the cultural impacts
CSF:They say they
will not going to put any of that kind of thing into their reports until
they have an
‘We already went to the
them and told them they need to look at the cultural sites. You need to
‘Wouldn’t you want to
save the taxpayers a lot of money by identifying that these are cultural
ICAU: Tell me about the importance of the sites that would be submerged by the Lake.
CSF: ‘Sites that are
on the lake are connected to sacred sites on the mountain. There is a
mountain that the
destroying those two sites is like saying that I think the pope can do
without his cross and
‘We already did this
one time and I think that our people have suffered for that. The traditions
ICAU: What if these
sites re-emerge? Are you worried about the forest services ability to
CSF: ‘This last year they drained it down to 50% and people in house boats were out there digging around.’
ICAU: Tell me about what you would like to see happen.
CSF: ‘I would like
to see the government deal with the Winnemem Wintu fairly and justly. Give
ICAU: Any last comments?
‘How can you build a dam higher when you have not fulfilled the obligations
of the law that
ICAU: Thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck in your battle.
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