Editorial: Politics of Winnemem Wintu recognition
"If you read a measure that the state Legislature passed last week supporting the Winnemem Wintus' push for federal recognition, it was about Indian rights.

If you read between the lines, it's about a lot more -- including whether the Bureau of Reclamation will ever beef up Shasta Dam to store more water in the reservoir.

And that story behind the story explains why the lawmakers who represent the Winnemem's north state homeland, Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa and Sen. Sam Aanestad, voted against their Indian constituents.

Indeed, to even get their resolution heard, the Winnemem had to go through Assemblyman Jared Huffman, a Marin County Democrat and former environmental lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Why didn't Aanestad and LaMalfa support the Winnemem? Asked this week, both said that determining tribal recognition is a task for the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, not the state Legislature.

Of course, neither lawmaker is shy about telling the feds how to do their job when it comes to forest management, payments to timber counties and other north state interests.

But LaMalfa added that the vote was about more than "straight tribal issues": "The issue came up on the floor: Are these also the same folks against raising Shasta Dam?""

Get the Story:
Editorial: Winnemem vote wallows deep in politics of water (The Redding Record-Searchlight 8/20)

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