(This poem was written by Luchie Maranan, an indigenous rights activist from the Philippines. Every year, millions of Indigenous Peoples are displaced from their ancestral lands due to plunder and militarization. This poem is about them.

You can also read my Filipino translation below. Again, all mistakes in translation are mine alone.

The photo of a man from the Manobo tribe <featured photo> is from the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region)

Homeland
by Luchie Maranan

You demand to know
Where we go when we walk the paths and trails
That our ancestors have trekked to survive
And which our grandchildren will trace,
To proudly nurture our race,
We alone can define our borders and
And harvest our earth’s generous grace.

You demand to know what words
Our children write and what songs they sing,
You, a stranger to our dreams and hopes,
You who are estranged from your own mother’s soul.
You accost us when we bring food when we toil in our fields
And accuse us of feeding the red warriors.
What is it to you if we feed them,
They who come from our own wombs and
Know the stories and seasons of our homeland?

You dare ask us, you unwanted stranger,
Why we loathe you like the plague,
You who stand guard for those who carve out
And ravage our hills and flee with our gold
And brandish your badge of war
And raze our children’s future to the ground
And maim us, ravish our women,
And plunder the spirits’ resting grounds
And leave us smouldering with rage.

You demand to know
Why we weep angry tears and clutch our spears.
This is our home.
Our hands till the earth that you trample on,
For now, you may have driven us away,
But we know we are deeply rooted
Like our trees that shed bloodied leaves
But our branches spread far and near
To embrace us in its shadows
Until we reclaim our foothold
And you shall trespass no more.

Sept. 12, 2015

(Filipino translation)

Tinubuang Lupa
Luchie Maranan
Salin ni Mark Ambay III

Iginigiit mong malaman
saan kami tumutungo kung binabaybay namin ang mga landas at daanan
na tinahak ng aming mga ninuno upang mabuhay.
na siyang susundan ng aming mga apo
upang buong giting na payabungin ang aming lahi.
kami lamang ang bukod-tanging makapagtatakda ng aming mga hangganan
at aani ng masaganang biyaya ng aming lupa.

Iginigiit mong malaman kung anong mga salita
ang isinusulat at inaawit ng aming mga anak.
ikaw, isang dayuhan sa aming mga pangarap at pag-asa,
ikaw, na hiwalay na sa kaluluwa ng sarili mong ina.
kami’y iyong sinisita sa aming pagbabaon ng makakain kung kami ay magbubungkal sa bukid
at pararatangan kaming nagpapakain ng mga pulang mandirigma.
ano ngayon sa iyo kung pakainin namin sila,
silang nagmula sa aming mga sariling sinapupunan
na maalam sa mga salaysay at panahon ng aming tinubuang lupa?

Nangangahas kang tanungin kami, ikaw na hindi kanais-nais na dayuhan,
ikaw na nagbabantay sa kanilang umuuka
at sumisira sa aming mga bundok at tumatalilis dala ang aming ginto
at nagwawasiwas ng iyong sagisag ng digma
at tumutupok sa kinabukasan ng aming mga anak
at sumasalanta sa amin, lumalapastangan sa aming kababaihan,
at umiiwan sa aming nagpupuyos sa galit.

Iginigiit mong alamin
kung bakit kami nagngangalit na tumatangis at mahigpit na tumatangan sa aming mga sibat.
Tahanan namin ito.
Ang aming mga kamay ang nagbubungkal ng lupang iyong niyuyurakan.
Sa ngayon, maaaring napalayas mo kami,
Subalit batid namin na kami ay malalim na nakaugat
tulad ng mga punong nalalagasan ng duguang mga dahon
ngunit sumasaklaw ang aming mga sanga
upang yakapin kami sa mga anino
hanggang muli naming mabawi ang aming pagtangan
at ika’y hindi na makapanghihimasok muli.

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