Native American Community Files Lawsuit Against Federal Government In Sacramento

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, April 20, 2009


Members of a Native American Community in northern California filed a lawsuit today (Monday 4.20) requesting the federal government officially recognize them an Indian Tribe.  To draw attention to the case, they’ve spent the past four days walking from Redding to the state capitol.  Steve Shadley reports…

Members of the Winnemem Wintu community filed the suit in U-S District Court in Sacramento.  They want the federal government to reinstate them as an Indian tribe…making them eligible for grants and government funding…and even a share of the economic stimulus package.  The federal government stripped their tribal status more than 20-years ago.  Caleen Sisk-Franco is the tribal chief and spiritual leader.  She says the tribe has turned down offers from outsiders who’ve offered to help… 

 “We’ve been approached by people who said we could get you recognized in five years.  If you want a casino. But we don’t want a casino.  We want our sacred waters we want our sacred places.  We want to be able to have our go there and pray….”
The Winnemem Wintu have filed the suit against the U-S Department of Interior and U-S Forest Service, among others.  They claim that without official tribal status non-native Americans have been allowed to come onto their land and have destroyed Winnemem cultural practices and sacred places.