Swam under as the sunset tonight at Lake Del Valle, which isn’t really a lake at all, but was an important river for those before us, and was dammed. Well, the water’s the same water at least, and the valley is the same valley. Oak trees are everywhere, and the hills are gold. It’s a special place.
As a kid we had Camp Muwekma there, we have our family camping trips there, our tribe has its Big Feast there.. It’s special. The sunset and the hills turned red. Everyone but me and Anna left the water and I lied back on the water and stared at the moon. The eagle was above as the sky turned purple, the crickets started to come out. This is home. Chosen land. I can see why they wouldn’t ever dare leave. Tough, brave ancestors.
I stared at the world around me calling the names in Chochenyo — rupaywa, ishmen, warep, huyyah, rumme.. We never called it Del Valle back then, but it was Luecha. I like Luecha better.
Then beloved East Bay Park police come. “PARK’S CLOSED,” he yells out… even flashing his sirens, like really?
“yeah, we’re going..” I shout back. Sucks how they have the “deed” for the land — the attachment, connection they don’t have. They never will. This is our home, mak ruway — mak warep, to think that gates or chains or police will remove us is a joke, it will never happen. Ak’we.
These places around us today used for parks are often much more than one might think — they are our villages, and sometimes our spiritual hubs. Gates won’t lock us out. They never have.