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Puberty Rights of the Winnemem Wintu

From: Barry Vogel
Series: Radio Curious
Length: 29:04

In this edition of Radio Curious, Associate Producer, Christina Aanestad visits with Caleen Sisk-Franco, the Spiritual Leader and Chief of the Winnemem-Wintu tribe in Northern California. In the last few years, the tribe has revived an ancient ritual, the Puberty Ceremony-which celebrates a girls transition into womanhood.

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The "Middle Water People" are a small tribe near Mount Shasta, in Northern California. During World War 2, they were relocated and their homeland was flooded to make the shasta dam. After an 80 year lapse, the tribe has reinvigorated a ceremony there, called the Puberty Ceremony, which honors a girls transition into womanhood. For 3 days and nights, men sing and dance on one side of a river, while the women, pass on traditions to girls on the other side.

The summer of 2011, the tribe will be holding the puberty ceremony for it’s future chief.  But holding a ceremony on stolen land can be a challenge. The forest service refuses to grant the tribe private access to their ancestral land along the McCloud river, because they are an “unrecognized” tribe.  Their ceremony is held with recreational boaters driving by, and camping as the tribe holds it's right of passage. Under the guidance of their Chief and Spiritual Leader, Caleen Sisk Franco, the Winnemem-Wintu have sued the federal government to protect their rights and their ancestral land. She describes the puberty ceremony and it’s importance to their way of life.    

Radio Curious Associate producer Christina Aanestad spoke with Caleen Sisk Franco, the chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu tribe in Northern California in August 2011. 

The Book Caleen Sisk Franco recommends “Winnie the Pooh,”  by A.A. Milne.

For more information on the Winnemem Wintu you can visit their website: www.winnememwintu.us

 

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Piece Description

The "Middle Water People" are a small tribe near Mount Shasta, in Northern California. During World War 2, they were relocated and their homeland was flooded to make the shasta dam. After an 80 year lapse, the tribe has reinvigorated a ceremony there, called the Puberty Ceremony, which honors a girls transition into womanhood. For 3 days and nights, men sing and dance on one side of a river, while the women, pass on traditions to girls on the other side.

The summer of 2011, the tribe will be holding the puberty ceremony for it’s future chief.  But holding a ceremony on stolen land can be a challenge. The forest service refuses to grant the tribe private access to their ancestral land along the McCloud river, because they are an “unrecognized” tribe.  Their ceremony is held with recreational boaters driving by, and camping as the tribe holds it's right of passage. Under the guidance of their Chief and Spiritual Leader, Caleen Sisk Franco, the Winnemem-Wintu have sued the federal government to protect their rights and their ancestral land. She describes the puberty ceremony and it’s importance to their way of life.    

Radio Curious Associate producer Christina Aanestad spoke with Caleen Sisk Franco, the chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu tribe in Northern California in August 2011. 

The Book Caleen Sisk Franco recommends “Winnie the Pooh,”  by A.A. Milne.

For more information on the Winnemem Wintu you can visit their website: www.winnememwintu.us

 

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