Protesters, students and spectators alike assemble on the steps of the University of California-Berkeley during the demonstration.

The California Valley Miwok Tribe, as a member of the Native American NAGPRA Coalition, sent Chairperson Silvia Burley to support the Coalition protest which was held on October 5th, 2007, at the Sproul Plaza at the University of California-Berkeley. The protest was organized to bring public attention to the disrespect which has been perpetuated against Native Americans over the University’s handling of ancestral remains in their posession. During her speaking engagement, Chairperson Burley recited a poem that she had prepared for the event. A transcript of this poem is posted below.

“Our Ancestors Are Sacred”
Their cries are heard in the wind.
Our ancestors want to come home.
For they are our next of kin.
Boxed and alone.They reach out to us.
In song and in our dreams.
We fight because we must.
Tears of flowing streams.We stand here today.
Heavy heart in hand.
To the Great-Spirit, we pray.
In unity, we stand.Our ancestors speak aloud.
Spirits standing strong.
Together we stand proud.
Help us right this wrong.Chancellor, tear down the wall.
The sadness and dismay.
Release not one, but all.
Free our ancestors, this day.
Poetry by Silvia Burley, Chairperson, California Valley Miwok Tribe