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Tribe fears raising Shasta Dam will destroy sacred sites

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe of California says a proposed raising of the Shasta Dam amounts to genocide because many sacred sites will be destroyed.

CalFed, a state-federal agency, wants to raise the dam 16 feet or more to raise the capacity of Shasta Lake. Supporters, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), say the plan will provide more water to the state.

But leaders of the tiny unrecognized tribe say ancient villages and sacred sites will be lost forever with higher water levels. "We feel like Catholics would feel if it was decided that flooding the Sistine Chapel was a good public works project," Caleen Sisk-Franco, the tribe's leader, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "To us, the project would be the worst kind of sacrilege."

Government officials says they will work with the tribe to identify potential impacts before any decision is made. But tribal members say the government's has a poor record, citing recent damage to a site where wood for ceremonial fires is gathered.

Get the Story:
Tribe sees dam plan as cultural genocide (The San Francisco Chronicle 2/27)

Relevant Links:
Winnemum Wintu Tribe -
CalFed -

Related Stories:
Winnemem Wintu Tribe goes to war for sacred sites (09/14)
Wintu Tribe's ceremony will challenge dam proposal (08/31)
Officials allow tribal ceremony at Shasta Dam (8/30)