Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Loss of sacred spaces: The Winnemem Wintu struggle against a cultural genocide by California water demands
by Ngo, Mary, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2010, 155; 1490403
Abstract (Summary)

The villages of the Winnemem Wintu once covered the entire McCloud River watershed in northern California. Ninety percent of their lands were devastated in 1945 when the construction of Shasta Dam was completed for the Central Valley Project. In 2000, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began investigating a proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam to increase surface water storage capacity for agricultural production. This dam raise would destroy remaining Winnemem sacred spaces and devastate their culture on the lower McCloud River. Drawing from the literatures of emotional geographies, Indigenous geographies, and poststructural political ecology, I first argue Winnemem sacred spaces offer deep emotional connections that maintain cultural identity and ancestral memories. I then expose the cultural distribution conflicts to show how Western meanings of landscapes become hegemonies that reinforce colonialist practices. In introducing a political ecology of emotion, I argue that these hegemonic meanings of landscapes simultaneously enable water-intensive lifestyles to prevail and deny Winnemem emotional, spiritual, and intellectual connections to their sacred spaces by limiting access to and protection of their ancestral territories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thien, Deborah
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography
Publication Number: 1490403
ISBN: 978-1-124-55016-9
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