Run4Salmon: Northern California Tribe & Allies Journey For Seventh Year To Restore Salmon in The Mount Shasta Area


June 2022, Mount Shasta, California – For the seventh year in a row, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, along with a collective of Indigenous women, activists, and allies will embark on Run4Salmon, a 300-mile Prayer Journey to restore salmon to the Mount Shasta area. Led by Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Run4Salmon is a ceremonial way of restoring salmon to their ancestral home waters. It is a journey of 300 miles, starting on Mount Shasta, and ending at the shores of the Pacific Ocean. It follows the path of what was once a ‘salmon run’--from the spawning beds of Chinook salmon on the upper McCloud River, down the Sacramento River, through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and into the San Francisco Bay.  Run4Salmon is carried out over 3 ½ weeks in July by paddling, boating, biking, walking, horseback riding, running, and dancing.

Scientists consider salmon a keystone species, and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe consider them ‘keepers of the water’, essential to keeping waterways healthy for human life and for all other life that depend on rivers.  The Winnemem Wintu are ‘Salmon People’, not only because salmon have historically been integral to their diet, but also because in the Winnemem creation story, it is the salmon that give their voice to humans, so that humans could speak.  In exchange, the Winnemem promised to always speak for the salmon, and they are speaking for them now–for their restoration and protection in the Mount Shasta area.  

When the Shasta Dam was built in 1945, the Chinook salmon of the Mount Shasta area were blocked from returning to their spawning grounds in the McCloud River and they became extinct. The extinction of the salmon in the Mount Shasta area has drastically affected the ecosystem of the McCloud River, and made a direct negative impact on the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s way of life.  To correct this grave error, a 
fishway around the Shasta Dam is proposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe for the Chinook salmon to repopulate the McCloud River.

Run4Salmon was named a UNESCO Green Citizen Project this past year, and it is also internationally recognized by the United Nations as a viable indigenous-led solution to the multitude of climate challenges California is facing. The prayer journey raises awareness about the damage and current threats to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s way of life, the importance of both salmon & clean water for the ecosystem, yet it also seeks to celebrate resilience and inspire hope in all people about the possibility of ecological balance.

This seventh year of Run4Salmon will once again feature a virtual component to ensure COVID safety, as it has for two years previously.  Run4Salmon 2022 is a ‘closed ceremony’ again this year, however the public is invited to participate safely online. The public is invited to identify & bless their local watershed and waterways, engage in Run4Salmon social media, and complete and share the Educational ‘Mini-Lessons’ and Curriculum found on the Run4Salmon website, Run4Salmon social media sites allow the public to share photos and videos of their own “run” for salmon.

Run4Salmon 2022 Schedule:
— June 25-July 2:  Run4Salmon Teach Week  
Online educational content of highlights and activities to prepare for the journey. Content posted daily at 8am PST on Facebook and Instagram.
— July 8: Run4Salmon 2022 Begins
— July 31: Run4Salmon 2022 Ends

Phone & online interviews about Run4Salmon are available & encouraged.  Contact to route your interview request to the direct contact.

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