An initiative of the Center for Cultural Innovation


Image Courtesy of Winnemem Wintu.

Winnemem Wintu d.b.a Sawalmem

The Winnemem Wintu (Winnemem) are a traditional tribe who inhabit 40 acres of their ancestral territory from Buliyum Puyuuk (Mt. Shasta) down the Winnemem Waywaket (McCloud River) watershed in Northern California. The tribe lost land and sacred sites when the U.S. Federal Government enacted the Central Valley Project Indian Land Acquisition Act, which resulted in the building of the Shasta Dam along the McCloud River in the 1940s. Since then, the Winnemem Wintu have been fighting to fulfill their role as protectors of their relatives, the endangered Chinook salmon whose migration pathway the dam interrupted, and stewards of Bear Mountain, a sacred site. 

The Winnemem Wintu have a time-sensitive opportunity to purchase 1,080 acres of their ancestral lands near Buliyum Puyuuk (Mt. Shasta) at the foot of one of their sacred sites, Bear Mountain. This is the first opportunity that the Winnemem have had to acquire and rematriate the land. 

In 2023, AmbitioUS provided $150,000 as a project grant to Canticle Farm (its fiscal sponsor) for the Sawalmem/Winnemem Wintu acquisition and rematriation of 1,080 acres of land. Returning the land to the care of the Winnemem people provides a rare opportunity to revive their ancient village site of Coonrod as a thriving cultural center that will help them scale up their practice of society and culture.



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