The City of Shasta Lake used the second phase of a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $800,000 to rehabilitate the City-owned 6,000 square foot Native American Museum and Cultural Resource Center (NACRC). The NACRC benefited the non-recognized Wintu Tribe of Northern California/Toyon Wintu Center, Inc.
The vacant commercial building was purchased in 2008 with the Phase I Community Development Block Grant Native American Grant 07-STNA-3720 in the amount of $1 million. The budget for Phase I only included the purchase of the facility and minimal rehabilitation work to open the doors.
The building was a vacant shell which was then transformed into a Native American Cultural Resource Center. An essential component of this facility was the cultural displays and educational activities held in the Museum/Curation section of the building. The Wintu Tribe of Northern California wishes to regain artifacts held by other museums, such as the Smithsonian and other public agencies. These artifacts are vitally important to the tribe for spiritual, ceremonial, educational, and historical purposes.
The facility is broken down into three different sections – Native American Museum and Heritage Center, community room and kitchen, and tribal program offices.
Wintu Cultural Museum
In collaboration with the Northern California Veteran’s Museum & Heritage Center, the Tribe utilized a 2,510-square-feet to display cultural artifacts both historic and prehistoric. The vision of the Tribe is to tell a story of the Wintu people – the story of the Wintu people prior to European contact, the story of the tribe’s struggles and accomplishments throughout the 1900’s, and the story of the Wintu People today and their future role in this world.
The veteran portion of the display includes actual stories of Wintu veterans with artifacts to support the stories and establish a connection between Native American culture and pride for their country. In addition, the Tribe wished to display artifacts from other California tribes to create awareness of brother tribes and to have a more dynamic learning environment through rotation of displays. Displays include audio and some hands-on learning about the culture and history of the Wintu people. The museum works in conjunction with the community room and the research library to facilitate learning and awareness.
Community Room and Kitchen
This 2,585-square-foot room allows the size flexibility for various programs, events, and tribal operations. It also serves as a museum orientation room for groups visiting the museum. The grant funded a commercial kitchen, which allows the tribe to offer Native American nutrition classes and various food distribution programs to low-income households.
Tribal Program Offices
The primary purpose of the tribal office is to monitor the museum and implement programs and projects. A program the tribe is pursuing is a local Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Office. TANF provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting state’s the federal funds and wide flexibility to develop and implement their own welfare programs.
Citizens may apply for assistance at their local TANF agency. As an unrecognized tribe, the Wintu of Northern California lack many of the programs and benefits that other Native Americans have available to them.