By Brendan S.
Cui-ui Ticutta (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation), partially-ceded Cui-ui Pah (Pyramid Lake, Nevada)
July 12, 2022
The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum & Visitors Center stood tall under a scorching Nevada sun today. The first words found upon entering: “Te Teepu Tusoopedya” - “Respect Our Homeland.”
A tribeswoman warmly welcomed me. I thanked her and her people for allowing me onto their ancestral homeland, and I offered my assistance with anything needed. She began to elucidate her tribe’s struggles to me, emphasizing their battle against language extinction with the gradual loss of tribal elders. “I hear our kids speaking Spanish back and forth, and I tell them, this is not your language,” she explained.
As a stateless Celt I was humbled by her words, knowing damn well that many of my ancestors were likewise the subjects of cultural and linguistic extinction, hence why I am not fluent in my ancestral languages. Knowing damn well that I too must deconstruct what has been imposed on my ancestry.
But in this, I have the privilege of reconstructing this cultural oppression in memory, which took place in my ancestry long before this era in which my skin enabled structural privilege. Under the construct of homogenized whiteness in the US state, I hold the privilege of choosing my identity.
The indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and Abya Yala must actively fight genocide to sustain their own, and this is precisely what the Paiute do everyday at Cui-ui Pah. Blockaded by some of the most racist communities in the Southwest, the Paiute people continue to actively fight this battle to preserve their language, culture, and homeland.
To the Kooyoe Tukadu (Pyramid Lake Paiute), thank you for your existence, thank you for preserving Cui-ui Pah for millennia, and thank you for allowing me onto your homeland. Know that you are never alone in your struggle for existence. The international front of ancestral resistance stands with you always. Your presence at Cui-ui Pah is a testament to your immortality.