Monday, January 10, 2005

Coming Home: A great day

Walt Lara was the first to speak, joking that he wasn't used to talking about good things happening for Indian people, "like getting their land back. I'm kind of a militant-I like to fight to get the land back." He spoke of the effects of genocide in the past, "up the coast and down the coast. It's sad, and people are still trying to shake it off." He praised the efforts of the Wiyot people. "They're back, and they're moving forward."

Next was Philip Vigil [Hupa], who his wife, Gloria, was essential to "grounding" and "inspiring" this event in tribal tradition (as Julian said). "This is a great day," he told the crowd. "It will go down in history for the Wiyot people and all the Indian people." He said that the Hupa "have sort of been the stewards of ceremonies for all the Indians of this area for years," assisting all the tribes in reviving their ceremonies, and they were ready to do the same for the Wiyot. "This is one of the things we look forward to---to re-establish the ceremonies here as they once were."

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