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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Ohlone Literature


Song for the Ohlone

by Martha Robrahn

We have walked these hills and valleys long before your time
When the waters ran clear, the forests stood tall
The earth gave us all we could ever need
And we lived our lives in dignity

When the padres came into our land
We met them with a smile
We shared what we had
And we learned what we could
They came to save us we were told
Our sacred ways were not the way
To save our souls

In this land of the brave and the home of the free
Tell me what freedom means for me
My land is gone, my people scattered
And no one seems to think it matters
That the sacred ways we lived our lives
Are now only told through the white man's eyes

We built the missions, worked the land
Toiled for days on end
When we tried to return to the life that we loved
They beat us and chained us
We did not understand
They said we no longer belonged to the land

In this land of the brave and the home of the free
Tell me what freedom means for me
My land is gone, my people scattered
And no one seems to think it matters
That the sacred ways we lived our lives
Are now only told through the white man's eyes

And if crumbling mission records do not clearly show
Our births and deaths from then 'til now
Then the government says we cannot be
What we've been, who we are, the Ohlone

Our habitat destroyed, our numbers thinned,
It doesn't take too much to see
If we were four legged or winged or finned
You would call us an endangered species




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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.


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