Each September for the past 2 years, Chief Caleen Sisk has led the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and allies in the Run4Salmon, a 300-mile journey from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region to the tribe’s historic village site on the McCloud River near Mt. Shasta. This two-week long prayerful event is a call to action to restore the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon, which are sacred to the Winnemem, and whose populations are severely threatened by climate change and construction of dams in the area.
Planning for this year’s Run4Salmon — which will take place from Sept 15-30 — is underway. WEA was honored to support last year’s run as it traveled through Ohlone territory and will be doing so again this September.
On June 5, the City of Berkeley denied Blake Griggs/West Berkeley Investors’ application to fast-track development of a massive 260-unit project, which would desecrate the sacred West Berkeley Shellmound site (also a designated city landmark) near Fourth Street. “Ohlone people are in favor of low-income housing and are aware of the extreme housing crisis we are facing in the Bay Area, our traditional territory. We need smart strategies to solve the Bay Area’s housing crisis. Desecrating an indigenous sacred site is not one of them.” — Corrina Gould, spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan.
Corrina’s leadership alongside a growing coalition to protect the Shellmound is bringing communities together in a peaceful, prayerful movement. They are now anticipating developers’ next steps in this ongoing fight to protect this sacred site.
The Shedding Light on Environmental Violence Initiative shows us that what happens to the land, happens to our bodies. Chrissy Swain, a leader featured in our Violence on the Land, Violence on our Bodiesreport, shares her experience of mercury poisoning caused by pollution from a paper mill near the Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation reserve in this article. Thanks to our friends at International Indian Treaty Council for sharing this work and being leaders in transforming environmental violence into environmental justice.
This summer, WEA was deeply honored to once again stand with Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, and Corrina Gould of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, in support of the Run4Salmon. These tireless women leaders have led this prayerful journey for the past 3 years, calling us all to action to protect the local salmon runs, our waters, and Indigenous lifeways.
As a team and community, we feel an urgency now more than ever before to broaden our circles and bring people together. Introducing World WEAvers Salons — small, informal gatherings of friends, neighbors and community members — to provide a space for us all to learn about important issues affecting our Earth and frontline communities, as well as generate innovative solutions to meet these challenges with hope and agility. We invite you to reach out if you are interested in attending, hosting, or have an idea for a speaker/topic for an upcoming salon.
In a moment of global environmental crisis, Indonesia is ground zero. Widespread deforestation and related wildfires make it the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases and endanger the survival of indigenous and endemic species, including the Sumatran orangutan. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and toxic smog are causing mass migration, transforming entire communities into climate refugees. Rivers and lakes are being consumed by plastic waste, coral bleaching is destroying ocean habitats, and rising seas are swallowing islands.
In response to the onslaught of environmental threats and crises facing local communities, and by extension the world, it is the women of Indonesia who are rising to meet these challenges.
Earlier this month, WEA had the honor of hosting Emmanuela Shinta, a Dayak leader, environmentalist and filmmaker from Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), for an intimate gathering to share how her community and environment continues to be affected by the world’s palm oil consumption.
WEA first met Shinta during Indonesia’s great Palm Oil Haze of 2015. At that time, Shinta was deeply immersed in mentoring young women activists who were passionately raising awareness about their country’s mass deforestation and burning of peat-rich rainforests to make room for mono crops of oil palm trees. This palm oil was to be used across the world in processed foods, beauty products and biofuels. In 2016, Shinta started the YOUTH ACT CAMPAIGN, a youth movement to end the forest fires and haze that have been happening for 20 years in Kalimantan.
Shinta is the founder of Ranu Welum Foundation, which works on issues of social culture, humanity, and environment in Kalimantan. She is at the forefront of taking an active and peaceful role in preserving the heritage, humanity, and environment of her community.