Lesson One


Geography, History and Culture

Standards: NGSS 4-ESS2-2, CCSS SL 4.2 and 4.3, HSS 4.1 & 4.2

Middle Falls, McCloud River, 1832


Students will learn about the Winnemem Wintu and the Run4Salmon event. They will gain an understanding of their concerns for Chinook salmon and water. Students will locate and map the traditional Winnemem territory, the affected California watershed, and the Run4Salmon route.


Estimated Time

1-2 class sessions (if optional resources are used)

Run4Salmon Slideshow Part 1: Pre-contact

Click on the slide box below to view in full screen mode


Activity 1: A Sense of Place

Show the Run4Salmon Slideshow Part 1, reading aloud the presenter notes included in the slideshow. The last slide is a map that can be left up onscreen.

Activity 2: Read excerpt (below)

A Sense of Place

Three large rivers flow south from the Mount Shasta region: the Sacramento, McCloud and Pit Rivers. The traditional name of the middle river is Winnemem (Middle Water). In the early 1800s, European newcomers renamed the river the McCloud.

H’up Chonas (War Dance), 2004

Who Are the Winnemem Wintu?

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe today are descendants of the first people of the region, who called themselves Winnemem (Middle Water People). For millennia, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe has inhabited territory south of Buliyum Puyuuk (Mt. Shasta), now known as the McCloud River watershed. In the late 1800s, American settlers, through violence and threats, forced many Winnemem off their traditional lands. Removals continued in the 1900s and by 1944 the construction of Shasta Dam flooded the last Winnemem-held lands on the McCloud River. Winnemem Wintu people today still regularly visit their traditional sites along the river for gatherings and ceremonies.

Winnemem Wintu people drying salmon for food stores, 1880

Activity 3: Winnemem History video clip

Show Dancing Salmon Home video clip Winnemem History (1:52) told by Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu.

Activity 4: Mapping

Using the Sacramento Watershed online physical map, Winnemem Wintu Territory Map, and video clip as references, have students map their California Watershed maps:

  • Map the location of the San Francisco Bay
  • Map the locations of the Sacramento, McCloud, and Pit Rivers
  • Map the location of Buliyum Puyuuk (Mt. Shasta)
  • Using a light color, shade in the territory of the Winnemem Wintu

Activity 5: What is the Run4Salmon?

Read to students the following excerpt, followed by Dancing Salmon Home video clip Run4Salmon Background (2:02)

From September 14th to 29th, 2019, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe will follow the traditional upstream migration course of native Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon. From the shores of San Francisco Bay up the Sacramento River valley to the waters of the McCloud River, participants will walk, boat, bicycle, run, paddle, and ride horses along hundreds of miles of waterways where Chinook salmon historically have returned to spawn after years at sea. The purpose of the Run4Salmon is to advocate for and raise public awareness about endangered salmon and proposed measures to restore their habitat and population.

Activity 6: Compare Maps

Go to the Run4Salmon website; scroll down the home page to A Prayerful Journey Map – examine and compare student map with the route of the event.

Activity 7 (optional): Salmon Will Run video

Watch the 16-minute long Salmon Will Run video covering the 2016 Run4Salmon journey.

Further Connections and Activities