Irish statement delivered at the 50th Anniversary of the Indians of All Tribes Alcatraz Occupation Sunrise Ceremony

November 28, 2019

Maidin mhaith, a chairde. Good morning, friends.

Bail ó Dhia ar an tionól seo. (Irish – God’s blessing on this gathering)

As settlers on your lands we stand in support of your decolonization efforts. As Irish Diasporans who share similar histories of colonization we stand in solidarity with you.

Go raibh míle maith, a thousand thanks, to the Ohlone, Pomo, and Miwok peoples whom we recognize as the sovereign guardians and protectors of this Bay Area.

Thank you to the veterans of the Occupation, their families, the International Indian Treaty Council, the American Indian Movement, and all of you here today, for your service to humanity. And special thanks to all those indigenous relatives around the world who’ve expressed solidarity with the Irish freedom struggle, often without expecting that solidarity to be returned by Irish Diasporans occupying your lands.

The Bay Area has been a major refuge for Irish migrants through wars and famine, and a major source of funds for financing our liberation struggle. Irish Diasporans have collaborated with and benefited from every stage of settler-colonialism here. Dozens of early Irish settlers were granted possession of stolen lands during the Spanish and Mexican regimes, and these settlers did not lose possession of these lands under the U.S. occupation like most Mexican citizens. While famine refugees faced certain types of discrimination in the East, Irish people were considered fully white here in the West and participated in all aspects of genocide against California Indians.

We have very little evidence that Irish Diasporans here have stood with Native folx in any significant way beyond a few exceptions like ‘Indian agents’ Timoteo Murphy and John Ross Browne, or Cal linguists J.P. Harrington and Cathy Callaghan, and in the fifty years since the Alcatraz Occupation, folx like Roibeárd Ó Ceallaigh, Bob Callahan, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Pat Goggins, Peter Urban and Mary McIlroy. Most importantly, we also recognize, honor, and thank the many California Indian people who are also Irish.

We condemn the masses of our ancestors who betrayed Irish values here in Turtle Island, celebrate those exceptions who understood that Irish liberation and Native liberation are inextricably linked, and as the sun rises this morning, we commit ourselves to bringing a new day in Irish-Indigenous relations based on recognition, support and solidarity.

We stand with you for your sacred sites as we stand for our sacred sites.

We stand with you for your languages and place names as we stand for our language and place names.

We stand with you for the salmon here on the West Coast of Turtle Island as we stand against dams, industrial fishing, and toxic farming operations destroying our salmon in the West of Ireland.

We stand with you for your political prisoners as we stand with ours. Free Leonard, Red Fawn, the Craigavon Two, and all political prisoners.

We stand with you for a united and free Papua just as we stand for a united and free Ireland, a united and free Palestine, a united and free Kashmir, and a united and free Tohono O’odham nation.

We stand with you against the extractive industries destroying our environment from Gwich’in and Inuit Nanangat to Standing Rock, from Oak Flat and Juristac to the Amazon, from the Niger River Delta and the Congo to Wangan and Jagalingou country, just as we stand with Rossport County Mayo and the Sperrin Mountains in County Tyrone.

Mni Wiconi. (Lakota – Water Is Life)
Is Saol an tUisce. (Irish – Water Is Life)
Water is life.

We stand with our Hawai’ian relatives against the desecration of Mauna Kea just as we would stand against the desecration of Cruachán Aigle, Croagh Patrick, or Cnoc na Teamhrach, the Hill of Tara.

We stand with our European relatives fighting for decolonization in Alba (Scotland), Cymru (Wales), Mannin (The Isle of Man), Kernow (Cornwall), Breizh (Brittany), Galicia, Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Catalunya (Catalonia), Sápmi (Sami Land), and for the liberation of Romani peoples.

We stand with two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non-binary relatives here and around the globe as we/they fight for our humanity.

May we carry forth the fire burning here this morning to ignite in Irish Diasporans their historical and moral responsibilities to stand with you against racism, imperialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy which continue to destroy and desecrate our planet and our peoples.

Pobail dúchasacha abu! Victory to indigenous peoples!

Sín é (Irish – That’s it). Aho. Thank you.

[Críoch / Ends]