Run4Salmon 2020

We will walk, run, bike, boat, sing, dance and pray to restore the salmon and bring them home. Join us this year—Virtually!

Run4Salmon 2020

July 17 to August 2

In this year of COVID awareness, Run4Salmon organizers will be laying down prayers at various points along the waterway, and we invite you to also lay down prayers from where you are sheltering in place and to participate in the various Run4Salmon events that are happening online.

April 22, 2020: Run4Salmon COVID-19 Statement (click to read PDF)

Here’s how you can get involved:


2020 Run4Salmon

Follow along as the journey moves downstream!

  • Between July 17-August 2nd:
    • Live Feeds from Events on the journey. Watch Facebook and Instagram for notifications
    • Ongoing Prayers: Go to your local waterway and lay down prayers near where you are sheltering in place.
    • Add to the journey from your local area
    • Contribute to completing the 300 miles of collective prayers by walking, biking, running, canoeing, or horseback riding in your community, if possible along local waterways.
  • July 24: Film Screening & Conversation— The short film, One Word: Sawalmem will be presented online followed by a conversation with co-director Pom Tuiimyali and Chief Caleen Sisk.
  • July 25: Educational Event— Presentation of Run4Salmon online curriculum, featuring activities for kids and songs for the salmon and the waters.
  • July 27: Live feed— Prayer by the water in Machoopda territory along the Sacramento River.
  • July 29 & 30:— Dancing Salmon Home documentary film and Standing on Sacred Ground documentary film will both be available to watch online for free
  • July 31: Wild Chinook Salmon Return panel discussion event— Join Chief Caleen Sisk and others for a report on the efforts to bring the salmon home from New Zealand, and the federally supercharged push to raise Shasta Dam, and complete other salmon-killing plans.
  • August 1 & 2: Live Feeds— Completion Prayers by the Water in Ohlone territory


The Winter-Run Chinook Salmon are on the verge of extinction.  Years of drought and water mismanagement have devastated their once thriving populations.  But, there is hope.  We have a chance this year to do something that has never been done. We can bring our Sacred Salmon (Nur) home.

The Winnemem Wintu Salmon Restoration Plan is in motion and with your help we can make that a reality. We successfully raised $85,000 for phase 1 of the project: collecting tissue samples for DNA testing. Now help us complete phase 2 by donating today



What is the Run4Salmon?

Winnemem Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk and a collective of Indigenous women, activists, and allies are organizing the Run 4 Salmon, a 300-mile trek that follows the historical journey of the salmon from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Winnemem (McCloud River) to raise awareness about the policies threatening our waters, our fish, and indigenous lifeways. It’s a dire time in California for wild chinook salmon (Nur) – climate change, giant dam projects and draining rivers for Big Ag irrigation threaten the survival of the keystone keepers of our waters. Salmon bring essential nutrients to the waterways, forests, and lands. However, since the Shasta Dam was built 75 years ago, the salmon have been unable to return to their home waters in the Winnemem’s ancestral watershed. Now, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe is working on a plan to bring the genetic descendants of their salmon from New Zealand back to their home waters.

This prayerful journey raises awareness about the importance of protecting our waters, restoring our salmon runs and revitalizing our indigenous lifeways.

What’s the problem?

Our waters, our fish, and indigenous ways of life are all under attack. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation , Westlands Water District, and Senator Dianne Feinstein plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet. Gov. Jerry Brown of California wants to build two giant tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that will divert our fresh water from the Sacramento River for the GMO Agricultural industry and have the potential of diverting every drop of fresh water from the Sacramento River. If they build these tunnels and raise the dam they will kill the largest estuary on the Pacific coast, inundate future spawning grounds on the McCloud River, and flood Winnemem Wintu sacred sites. These projects will destroy sacred ceremonial places, poison the soil, and destroy unique habitat that is essential for salmon as well as other plants, birds, and marine life.

What are we doing?

For the next four years, we’ll be reversing the prayer journey, following the path of baby Nur (salmon) to the ocean. The journey begins on the Winnemem Waywacket (McCould River), where the Salmon once spawned in their ancestral spawning grounds before Shasta Dam was built. We’ll travel down the Sacramento River along the Bay-Delta Estuary and end  at Sogorea Te (Glen Cove, Vallejo, Ca).

Our salmon play a vital role in keeping our waters and forests healthy. We will be laying down blessings along the route they will take once we bring them back from Aotearoa, New Zealand. This is a ceremonial way of bringing Salmon home, who have historically been the keepers of the water, and whose jobs are essential to keeping our waterways healthy for human life and for all other life that depends on these rivers.

As we run, we will be praying to bring balance to the rivers of California and to all of the waters of the world, which are connected.

How can you help?

  • Joining us on the Run4Salmon journey walk, the bicycle segment, and/or the run.
  • Follow us on social media on our Run4Salmon facebook, instagram and twitter.
  • Donate to our GoFundMe page to help us BRING OUR SALMON HOME!
  • Call your senators and ask what they are doing to ensure the Winnemem Wintu Tribe’s way of life is preserved and their voice is heard in California’s water planning. Tell them to build a volitional swim way around Shasta Dam for the Chinook Salmon, and to bring the McCloud River Salmon home from New Zealand.
  • Sign our petitions
  • Use our hashtags to help spread the word #Run4Salmon #NoDamRaise #NoDamCanHold.
  • If you are a teacher, please visit our Run4Salmon Curriculum pages, and invite your class to follow Run4Salmon on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Pray for your waters, know where your water comes from, know the names of your rivers, and standing up for your waterways.
    Thank You ♥

Make a Difference

You can make a difference

Does the light of life burn in your heart? Does the spirit fire fill your soul?
The smallest actions can have a big impact!


Donate Now                                         

Thank you! We appreciate you sharing your time with us!

Support and learn more about Run4Salmon with our new mini-lessons! If you’re a parent looking for learning activities for your child, if you’re a teacher looking for lessons to incorporate into your next school year, or if you’re looking for a way to educate yourself, these mini-lessons supplement our Run4Salmon curriculum in a short, user-friendly format.

Click on the blue labels on the map to view each short lesson slideshow:

The Winnemem Wintu The Salmon Shasta Dam River Ecosystems Food Protocol The Artists Threats to the River The Bay Delta Ceremony

List of all available 2020 Run4Salmon Mini-lessons:

For more ways to follow the 2020 Run4Salmon, visit the Run4Salmon homepage and follow the Run4Salmon Facebook page, Instagram account, and YouTube Channel.