Monday April 11, 2022

Shasta Scout

State-sponsored violence and discriminatory laws have caused California Indian tribes and other minorities to be excluded from the state’s water rights system in ways that contribute to their ongoing harm, argues a legal brief filed this month on behalf of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and others.

Because this system has allowed a powerful few to lay claim to California’s waters, they say a state appeals court must consider how an important water rights case currently under appeal could worsen the environmental injustices they’re experiencing and cripple the state’s ability to sustainably care for its waters during severe drought.

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe are the Indigenous people of the McCloud River (or Winnemem Waywaket), which flows through what are now Shasta and Siskiyou counties. The brief was filed on behalf of a diverse coalition of grassroots organizations that includes the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians as well as Little Manila Rising, a non-profit organization originally founded to advocate for South Stockton’s large Filipino community. Restore the Delta, an environmental justice non-profit that advocates for increased freshwater flows for the Delta region, was also part of the coalition. Two pro-bono law students from Stanford’s Environmental Legal Clinic wrote the brief on behalf of the coalition and submitted it to the court.

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