In Our Languages: Nisenan
By Alan Wallace
’ejowwisi woontiwisi woole myje habys. han honpetaajwisi. han honsynowisi hedem k’awi ni.
Wanting to get mad and kill, I might become like them. And go crazy. And I will forget this place.
k’awi ‘uk’ojis. solni pajjom hontak’ojis. ‘esak’ni kodojampenaan, kaantee ‘isim. nisnaanik pe’a mi ‘esak’ac’e, nisek pe’am wenne my ‘esak’leleetim.
Better to travel the land. Remember the songs, dances. The lessons given from Kodojampe. The knowledge is still there. When you know Indian talk, our talk is good, causing quick learning.
woolek k’awi nus my. kaantee wineen wec’nowisi. kodo hesin p’yc’yt’i ‘esak’ti
White people’s time is short. All they make will disappear. Teach the children to care for the earth.
‘esk’amomis homonaan, ‘ydawin. ‘uk’ojmente ’is woonomaadi niseek. Nik k’oto pe’aji, niseek majdy hipinimna kojo ‘uk’ojim. hontak’ojim ni woonon hejwejdawwisi hedem k’awi. c’upapim k’awnaan ‘ydawim niseek sudejim. hedem k’awi ‘ispemaa nees.
Know who you are, where you come from and where you are going. We don’t go away, we stay where we died. My grandmother had said, our people go the Maidu heaven. I think we die and come back to this place. From the red dirt comes our blood. That’s why we remain here.
c’ajim majdy ‘ydawwisi neediim majdy pe’a. ‘iccimaa. homaam ‘ydawwisi ‘esak’mukum myseem. kaateem k’awi majdym ‘isim. ‘ydawmaa woolem ‘odo myysymukum t’uun k’awi kododi ha. nisenaan ‘issim
The dreamers said different people were coming. A warning. They told them what would happen. They knew something was coming. All the time they stayed Majdy. Coming of the white people their hunt for gold is a short time on this earth. The Nisenan remain.
hedem kodo woole wastimby. kodojampe hejwejdawwisi. kodo momni juusuin. nisenaan ‘eptim ‘issbo.
If people ruin the world, Kodojampe will come back. And cover the land with water again. The Nisenan spirit will remain.
Alan Wallace (Nisenan/Washoe) is a Nisenan language teacher, master artist, musician, and creator of the Native American rock opera “Something Inside is Broken.”