wintun

Activists continue to defend the ancient indigenous burial ground at Glen Cove, south of Vallejo, California, against plans by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (a local parks and recreation administration) to turn the area into a park with a parking lot, restrooms, a paved trail etc. June 4th, 2011, marked the 50th day of protest at the site. Indigenous groups with historical ties to the site include the Ohlone, Patwin (Wintun), Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Wappo, and Tule River Yokuts. (h/t Censored News)
(Photo via Protect Glen Cove)

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Please Speak Your Native Language

I belong to the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians and I have been actively learning our language for about 17-18 years now. I was inspired to post this today because it is International Mother Language Day (February 21, 2013)

My grandmother was a native speaker of Nomlaki. As with many Indian children of her time, she was rounded up with a few others from the Paskenta region (in western Tehama County, California), and taken nearly 600 miles away to the Sherman Institute at Riverside, California, for assimilative education.

She had nothing nice to say about that place where she was corporally punished for speaking her language. Actually, she said she liked a basket-making class and, when once after an earthquake, all of the students were made to sleep out on one of the lawns.

She, along with another friend from Paskenta, escaped the school and somehow made their way (over 570+ miles) back to Paskenta where they went immediately to work in the orchards and fields.

Although she would, on occasion, speak Nomlaki to her parents, aunties, and friends, she never taught any of her 14 children to speak Nomlaki. By the time I was in my late-teens, she hadn’t spoken Nomlaki in the home for years. That changed when I started asking her questions.

She ended up passing away not too long after I started my language journey. I am so happy I got to hear the little things that I did directly from her.

A year before her passing, I was very fortunate to have attended UC Berkeley’s Breath of Life Conference in 1996, where I began my formal quest to our Nomlaki language revitalization. My formal journey had begun.

If you speak a native language, please be sure to pass it on.
If you are a Native who is on the road to learning your language, never be discouraged. Anything you do is better than doing nothing at all.

Hō.

UPDATE 2/26/2013:
As a result of this video, I was approached by a good man, Dennis King, to participate in a project that he described as “quixotic”.
I am all about “quixotic”.

I translate an 8-line, 1,000-year old Irish joke into Nomlaki.
You can find it here:
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/sengoidelc/donncha/tm/ilteangach/?teanga=wit-nom

Check out all the languages featured in this project here:
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/sengoidelc/donncha/tm/ilteangach/teangacha.php

For more info about the joke itself, go here:
http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/sengoidelc/donncha/tm/en/

How Death Came To Be - A Wintun Legend

As the creator-god of the Wintun, or Wintu, Olelbis lived in Olelpanti, or heaven. Olelbis had intended that man live forever. When they were old, they could climb a ladder to Olelpanti where they could eat and live with him. In one version of the myth, Olelbis sent two buzzards to build the ladder, but a coyote (who is the trickster god in Wintun mythologys) came by and persuaded them to stop building. The buzzards stopped working, but they warned the coyote that one day he too would die. So the coyote tried to reach Olelpanti by flying, but never succeeded and died without going to Olelpanti.

In another version of the myth, it is two brothers instead of two buzzards. But Sedit, trickster-god of the Wintun, appeared on the scene and persuaded one of the brothers that it would be better to sleep with someone, and so procreate the human species. The one persuaded by Sedit argued the other into agreement, and both defected from Olelbis and joined together to destroy the road they were building to heaven. Sedit, horrified when he finds he has brought death to the human race and must die himself, tries to escape his fate. He makes himself a mechanism of boughs and leaves (a sort-of plane) hoping to fly to Olelpanti. But he crashes and is killed. Olelbis looks down from the heights of heaven and says, “See. The first death! From henceforth (all) men shall die.”

Anti-Redskins Commercial Will Air During NBA Finals


The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a California Tribe, has bought commercial slots in seven media markets (Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington) for the purpose of showing a commercial that protests the team name and mascot of Washington’s NFL franchise. The NBA finals are shown on ABC.

Activists continue to defend the ancient indigenous burial ground at Glen Cove, south of Vallejo, California, against plans by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (a local parks and recreation administration) to build a parking lot, restrooms, paved trail etc on the burial site. July 5th, 2011, marked the 83rd day of protest at the site. Indigenous groups with historical ties to the site include the Ohlone, Patwin (Wintun), Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Wappo, and Tule River Yokuts. (See also: 1, 2, 3)
(Photo via Protect Glen Cove)