In 1875, biologist Livingstone Stone collected a sampling of belongings — baskets and ceremonial regalia — from the Winnemem Wintu people who lived along the McCloud River, below Mt. Shasta in northern California. Stone told the Wintu he was collecting items to be shown at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. As it turned out, the items were never displayed in Philadelphia. Instead, they were put in storage at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. 127 years later these cultural treasures came home to the Winnemem through an exhibit at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park Museum in Redding, California. Before the items were put on display in 2002, the Winnemem welcomed them home. The items were on a two-year museum-to-museum loan. Despite the Wintu request to keep the items, the Smithsonian took them back in 2004. We filmed this scene after completing our PBS feature-length documentary “In the Light of Reverence,” and the footage went into the vault as we slowly moved toward production of our next documentary, the four-part series “Standing on Sacred Ground.” The series was shot on the new 16×9 format and the footage of Winnemem artifacts coming home for a visit, shot on the old 4×3 format, was never used. As part of our ongoing archive project, and in an effort to produce shorter films, we offer up this emotional slice of Winnemem history.

Director/Producer: Christopher (Toby) McLeod
Editor: Callie Shanafelt Wong
Camera: Will Parrinello and Jimmy Iacona
Sound: Tony Jensen With thanks to Jessica Abbe and Caleen Sisk.