Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Praying in Esselen

I'm at the Breath of Life Conference in Berkeley, learning to speak Esselen. My sister Louise Ramierez and our mentor David Shaul are here too. Louise wrote this prayer for my book, and I am learning to say it as part of my homework. Every single word is absolutely beautiful, all the moreso because my sister wrote it for me ("Manu nish ichi xunosx'im" - for my sister Turtle) in a language that, till now, has not been spoken in over one hundred years.

Las Otno Ayam, Las Metx, Las Iapa, Las Ewshai, let salewa iyu. Atsa Las Ewshai ka amumut lakam let lalal ma'ali manaleneipa. Kia iniwa welel ta'a neku tuxus laka masianex hatan kominan efexe. Let taheiya neku Las Ewshai ahik, tamakapa sasipi let papia cha'a. Let toxesa iniwa alpa pami lex panna laka lax panna. Let alpa ahik kimonan kinia ta'a iniwa alpa machi ahik let efexe cha'a. Kia lach ewaimitano machi kinia lachs ka laka keya lax Maxana shansha.

Kia Las Otno Ayam Taxawi Name Kominan.

Honorable Creator, Honorable Grandfathers, Honorable Grandmothers, Honorable Ancestors, we come in a good way. Days of Ancestors are gone but we will not forget. May these words find the ears and hearts of all people. We honor the Ancestors that suffered so that we could live. We give these stories to our Children and their Children. We pray that all who find these stories k now that our people exist. May our children forever know who they are and where their blood runs.

May Creator Protect You all.

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