Ma Talas (We Stand)

On October 6-7, 2016, the members of Stop Tribal Genocide and the community met on the steps of California's State Capitol and outside the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs building and protested against the injustices of Tribal Disenrollment, Pipelines, Fracking, Dishonoring the treaties, Columbus Day, Federal Recognition, Mascots, Police Brutality, and Identity Theft. This piece was written in honor of the first Native Rights Matter March. 

Ma Talas


Ma Talas (We stand)

Ma ‘is ‘inniko talas (We the people stand)

Ma ‘is ‘inniko kennetto (We the people stand together)


Ma machchaw (We speak)

She shouts red into the microphone

“Stop the madness!”


Ma pottaar (We matter)

Her message stings like a slap

“Now is our time to speak!”


Tallepuhmi! Ma pottar (Wake up! We matter)


“Come back to your roots”

“Water them,”

“Speak with them”

And “nurture them.”


Ma Talas

Ma ‘is ‘inniko talas

Ma ‘is ‘inniko kennetto



We are ope (more)

Oye (Coyote-man) says as he stands on stolen sacred ground

He remembers.


We are ope

Oye rips out our submissive silences

And sheds a tear

He watches.


Greed stealing our identities

Stripping us of our power,

Spreading like sickness

Bringing us to our knees.


Exposing our power hungry reality

Killing our spirits

Binding our children’s souls


We are ope



“’Utus” (Get up!)


Oye watches

The people

Congregating on stolen sacred land




They speak.

They stand.

They stand together.


Oye smiles

Listening to the blessing

He closes his eyes.


The sun rises high

In solidarity

Blanketing the earth in her warmth

Guiding the speaker’s words with her comfort.




Their pain comes out of their lips in gusts

Their pain sings to their ancestors

Their pain rings out like the excess beat from a drum,

Stomped out like poison

Counteracting an act of being stung.


Ma machchaw

towis hinak ‘is “inniiko (Restore the people)


“Win this war against colonialism.”

“Braid that hair,”

“Dance around the fire,”

“Respect the water,” and

“Always give love” because


 We are ope. 


Please watch the videos of our speakers at : 

1.  Former Chairwoman of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, Sandra Sigala:

2. Michelle Hammock on Tribal Disenrollment:

3. This video contains speeches from : Dayna Barrios (Ventureno Chumash) - Anthropologist, Jacqueline Keeler (Dineh/Yankton Dakota) - Journalist, YahNe Ndgo - Jill Stein Surrogate, Green Party, and Michelle Hammock (Hopland) - Stop Tribal Genocide:

4. Yulu Ewis (Coast Miwok FIGR) - Stop Tribal Genocide:



Published by Kristen Debler


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