Calling Back the Salmon

Calling Back the Salmon Ceremony on the Yuba River - Saturday, October 8

A Maidu Calling Back The Salmon Ceremony highlights a four day celebration of Indigenous Peoples Days, set in and around Nevada City, California. The event is co-sponsored by the South Yuba River Citizens League, a SalmonAid member organization.

This year's Calling Back the Salmon ceremony will be held at Sycamore Ranch Park, on Highway 20, on October 8th, 2011. This is located on the Yuba River 4.5 miles west of Parks Bar bridge. Click here for a Google Map.

A Calling Back the Salmon Ceremony held in January of 2005 first brought together community members, SYRCL leadership and Tsi-Akim Maidu.  This ceremony prompted broad community participation, and the Tsi-Akim Maidu then began performing it annually. During the ceremony, a sacred Fall-Run Chinook salmon is speared using traditional methods, and then it os run by foot by Spirit runners who carry the sacred salmon from the lower Yuba River up and around a dam that blocks their migration into hundreds of miles of their ancestral spawning habitat. This dam is owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers and never served its intended purpose of trapping hydraulic mining debris.

"Calling Back the Salmon' is a campaign without a budget, strategic plan, or written contracts between the partnering groups.  Yet SYRCL's emerging conversation with the local Maidu in creating the conditions necessary for salmon restoration is perhaps our most important and vital work," says former SYRCL Executive Director Jason Rainey.

Tribal Chairman Don Ryberg said, "We've brought Indians and non-Indians together to prepare ourselves for the Calling Back the Salmon Ceremony. When Indian and non-Indian come together the healing process starts the healing action.  Just apology isn't enough, doing a project together is where the healing comes from so that we might call the salmon home."


These annual ceremonies, revived just a few years ago, have been the first Maidu Calling Back the Salmon Ceremony at the Yuba River in over 150 years.  They had ended due to the catastrophic effect of the Gold Rush, which destroyed 99.5% of the native population. The public is invited to learn about Maidu history, come together to heal the wounds of the past, and celebrate our common destiny. There is no charge for this public event, which is alcohol and drug free.