Inspiration: Indigenous activist Morning Star Gali confronts colonialism and violence

Morning Star Gali is a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Tribe (California) and serves as Project Director for Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples (RJIP). She’s committed to reducing the incarceration of Native people and works to examine the potential removal of frontier memorials commemorating colonization and cultural erasure. 


What moves are you making to end violence?

I think talking more about how it’s not just Land Back, and when we say Land Back we mean it. We mean Land Back. It’s not just a hashtag. We’re saying water back, we’re saying ancestors back, that we want it all back. When we are operating from this place that we think that this healing is not linear, that we’re a part of a circle, so it all comes back to us. In order to, they talk about Mending the Sacred Hoop and to be able to mend that we need to be able to have access to clean water.

We need to be able to have access to our sacred lands that we pray on, that we need to be able to have our ancestors returned. It’s so much more I guess in the bigger context and so much more than I think even when we view through this lens of colonialism that we’re not able to even see.


How would you describe your leadership strengths?

You really have to learn how to be a good listener. You’re not always going to have the answers, and a lot of times folks aren’t even looking for an answer, they just want to be heard. They want to be validated, and they need someone that’s willing to fight for them.


What keeps you in the work?

It was a moment that Apache Stronghold folks came to the Alcatraz Sunrise gathering, and they laid prayers on the island. It’s just this little moment where the sun’s rising, it’s like the power of thousands of native peoples, I could cry just thinking about it and supporters.


Morning Star Gali is a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Tribe located in Northeastern California. She serves as Project Director for Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples (RJIP) and as the California Tribal and Community Liaison for the International Indian Treaty Council, working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Cultures and Sacred Lands.

Excerpted from interview with Miriam Zoila Pérez of Move to End Violence

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