Native Americans in spiritual salmon mission to NZ

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Native Americans in spiritual salmon mission to NZ

#1  Postby Kiwi » Mar 21, 2010 8:36 am ... sion-to-NZ

Two dozen Native Americans have come to New Zealand on a spiritual mission to ask their fish to return home to California. The tribal leaders plan to apologise to the chinook salmon - known here as quinnat - on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance, the New York Times reported. Chinook salmon are native to the Pacific but lately in short supply in the rivers of Northern California, home to the Winnemem Wintu - a tiny, poor tribe.

As the Winnemem see it, the tribe's troubles began in early 1940s, with the completion of the Shasta Dam, which blocked the Sacramento River and cut off the lower McCloud River, obstructing seasonal salmon runs, and according to the tribe, breaking a covenant with the fish. The salmon was introduced into New Zealand waters between 1901 and 1907 and now flourish in the Rangitata River, the Opihi River, the Ashburton River, the Rakaia River, the Waimakariri River, the Hurunui River, and the Waiau River. The Winnemem say the New Zealand fish are descended from eggs taken from the Sacramento and McCloud rivers, and they want their fish back.

"The spirits came," chief Caleen Sisk-Franco told the New York Times. "And they said, 'You've got to get it done'." Ms Sisk-Franco said the tribe and the salmon were intrinsically linked. "What happened to the salmon happened to us," she said. "The fish have been diminishing in numbers, and so have we." The group had to scrape to raise the US$60,000 (NZ$84,685) for the trip by selling trinkets, soliciting help from richer tribes, and fundraise through a Facebook page. Mark Franco, the tribe's headman, said.

He had made it clear to the delegation the trip was not a vacation, but a mission. "We have a job to do," he said. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service denied the tribe permission to take much of its ceremonial regalia - including hawk, woodpecker and vulture feathers - though its eagle headgear was approved. "Win some, lose some," Mr Franco said.

Now in New Zealand, the Winnemem plan to meet with Ngai Tahu leaders and stage a four-day ceremony starting March 28 that will culminate with the rare "nur chonas winyupus", or middle water salmon dance. The Francos say they intend to ask New Zealand authorities if they can take some of Canterbury's salmon eggs - once of California stock - back to the McCloud. "We have to do more than pray," Ms. Sisk-Franco said. "We have to follow through."
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Re: Native Americans in spiritual salmon mission to NZ

#2  Postby jaydot » Mar 26, 2010 9:45 pm

yeah. having a knees up should do the trick. :P
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Re: Native Americans in spiritual salmon mission to NZ

#3  Postby chairman bill » Mar 26, 2010 9:59 pm

Kiwi wrote:

... "We have to do more than pray," ...

Well, they got that bit right
“There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.” Terry Pratchett
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Re: Native Americans in spiritual salmon mission to NZ

#4  Postby Kuia » Mar 26, 2010 10:04 pm

I'm not sure that Ngai Tahu had anything to do with introducing the salmon to NZ in the first place, so just why the visitors want to consult with them is a mystery.
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