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Posted Sun Mar 21 2010: from New York Times:
California Tribe Hopes to Dance Salmon Home
The unusual journey centers on an apology, to be relayed to the fish on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance that tribal leaders say has not been performed in more than 60 years.... As the Winnemem see it, the tribe's troubles began in early 1940s, with the completion of the Shasta Dam, which blocked the Sacramento River and cut off the lower McCloud River, obstructing seasonal salmon runs, and according to the tribe, breaking a covenant with the fish. "We're going to atone for allowing them to build that dam," said Mark Franco, the tribe's headman. "We should have fought harder." As luck would have it, the United States government once bred millions of Chinook eggs from the McCloud and shipped them around the world in hopes of creating new fisheries, including a batch that went to the South Island of New Zealand, where the fish thrived.... The trip to New Zealand is not the first time the Winnemem have turned to ancient methods to try to change policy. In 2004, while fighting a proposed plan to raise the Shasta Dam 18 feet, the tribe staged a war dance, a four-day, round-the-clock ceremony carried out by their dwindling numbers of warriors. "We were exhausted," Mr. Franco said. But in the end, the dam was not raised. Once in New Zealand, the Winnemem plan to rendezvous with local Maori leaders and stage a four-day ceremony starting March 28 that will culminate with the rare "nur chonas winyupus," or middle water salmon dance. The Francos say they intend to ask local fish and game officials if they can bring back some of New Zealand's salmon eggs -- once of California stock -- back to the McCloud. "We have to do more than pray," Ms. Sisk-Franco said. "We have to follow through."
[Read more stories about: lived experience, species restoration, water issues]
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'Doc Michael says:
Uh-oh. If this works, we'll have a *lot* of apologies to make!
On the other hand, we'll all love the dancing!

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