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Interview with Maccniph
~ Samantha Anglen
SA: What tribes do you come from?
Maccniph: I come from Modoc, Pit River,
and Tolowa Tribes
SA: I heard your song featuring Dawn Karima
“walking on wata” what inspired you to write
Maccniph: In 2015-2016 California was experiencing a severe drought. A lot of our home lands were being affected by wild fires and low water levels.
SA: How did this affect you personally?
Maccniph: There were a few days during the wildfires that the air quality was bad. One day I woke up and felt like it was the end of the world. All the skies were grey and I felt like I was dreaming. The smoke blocked out the sun and it was scary because the electricity went out, so there was no communication with the outside world. You could see the fire getting closer to my house, and I didn’t know if we should get ready to evacuate and lose it all.
SA: What do you believe would be a good solution to this seasonal problem?
Maccniph: In the old days, my tribe would burn underbrush and duff so that way the ashes would replenish the soil. This would alleviate the fuel of potential wildfires. Also, there was not enough water for the firefighters to help put out the fires. My tribe would cultivate the wild beavers which would in turn create multiple wet lands across northern California. That would provide ample fresh water to all the springs, rivers, and meadows. Now days there’s lots of ranchers and orchards in Oregon and northern California. They suck the rivers dry that feed our natural Salmon routes. The cattlemen allow their cattle to defecate in our natural wild salmon habitats. I think a solution would be to bring back the beaver take out the damns and ban or limit the ranchers and orchards from access to our natural springs and fresh waters.
SA: What obstacles is your tribe facing in making this happen?
Maccniph: It’s a complex system of politics that control the
legislation and bills being passed. It’s a huge process and there
are many departments involved. Not many common citizens
know about the problems that we face. No one knows who to
address and what to do. The Rancher’s and orchards have a
lot of money and they control legislation.
SA: How do you move forward?
Maccniph: We need to get the word out. No one seems to care about the water, so We need to address the issue of our wild pacific Salmon because our culture relies on them. Our people from the coast and inland have lived on these salmon all our lives for generations. Our children and our elders rely on these salmon. Now the Salmon are coming from the Pacific Ocean with radiation and being over fished by fishing corporations. The water levels are low because of the Pacific power corps. Damns and the Orchards/Rancher’s. The water is being poisoned by gold miners and Monsanto Glyphosate pesticides being used. The Salmon are in our art, our ceremonies, our gatherings, our daily activities, and in our hearts. So, we really need to get the word out or we could go extinct as a people just like our Salmon.
SA: What are you currently working on and how can people help?
Maccniph: I’m coming out with some new music so you must stay tuned. Check out my YouTube search Maccniph follow me on twitter @GANGSTALEENE. You can start by going to futurity.org/California-fish-exticntion-1437172 and by visiting winnememwintu.us and check out my song Walkin on Wata at gangstaleene.bandcamp.com