“Downward In Spirit”

flute of an Eagle


My flute plays a lonesome tune
Another teardrop blots the moon
Listen intently if you are there
Lessen this pain by showing you care

Heavy in hear my downward spirit
I cry Grandfather with hopes you’ll hear it
Don’t allow us to dissipate, fade into air
Unladen our souls from despair

I play my flute reach out with song
Save us now, don’t wait too long
Nestled together deadlocked in strife
Downward in spirit clinging to life

Poetry by
Silvia Burley, Chairperson
California Valley Miwok Tribe
November 14, 1995   ©


Traditional Miwok Rattle

Tristian Sept 13 2012 001  Tristian Sept 13 2012 002

Tristian Sept 13 2012 003

Back in September 2012, at the age of 16, Tristian  Wallace was asked to draw a bear (’ysy·maţi-), and a mountain lion (hi·li·ca-), on a traditional Miwok rattle.

The bear (’ysy·maţi-) pronounced uh sum ma dee was drawn on a traditional Miwok rattle by CVMT Tribal Member, Tristian Wallace.

The mountain lion (hi·li·ca-) pronounced hee lee cha was drawn on a traditional Miwok rattle by CVMT Tribal Member, Tristian Wallace.

The traditional Miwok rattle is owned by Tribal Elder / Certified Indian Artisan Mildred Burley.

Silvia Burley, Chairperson
California Valley Miwok Tribe


Awakening Of Pride



My Grandfather sings by the fire
Winds whipping cinders higher
Songs of long ago, he cries
Images of sad goodbyes

The Great-Spirit is all around
Above the sky, below the ground
Language of our people spoken
Grandfather sings though his heart is broken

Our children are lost, they do not see
Please show them light, hear my plea
I sit in silence with a renewal of pride
What I’d lost is now inside

My eyes been opened, now I see
I am no longer ashamed of “ME”
My people’s future will survive
For what I lost is now alive

Chills set in by cold of night
Shadows dance by fire light
With the dawning of the new day
Fears of tomorrow fade away

Poetry by
Silvia Burley, Chairperson
California Valley Miwok Tribe
January 20, 1995   ©

The Mermaid

The Mermaid (Hus’ seh’ pe)

This is a story about a young Miwok man named Yu’-wel-lu. One day while out fishing in his tule boat Yu’-wel’-lu heard muffled singing coming from the water. A beautiful hus’ seh’pe approached him. She was so stunning that he couldn’t take his stare off her. Day after day he would go fishing and she would approach him. Finally one day, she told him that if he really truly loved her, she could magically become a Miwok woman and be his wife but he couldn’t tell anyone of her being a hus’seh’pe. If he told, he would die and she would return to the waters.

With this promise she tied a red ribbon around his wrist. She said he was never to take the ribbon off. The hus’ seh’ pe went home with Yu’-wel-lu, and they lived happily until one day they attended a big time celebration. Yu’-wel-lu introduced his beautiful wife and the other Miwok men were curious as to where Yu’-wel-lu found such a beautiful wife. They noticed the red ribbon on his wrist and continued to harass Yu’wel-lu about the red ribbon.

After hours of relentless taunting Yu’-wel-lu told his story about the ribbon and his wife being a hus’seh’pe. The Miwok men did not believe him. He said, “alright then, I will prove it to you”, even knowing that when I remove this ribbon, I will die. Yu’-wel-lu removed the red ribbon and died. His beautiful wife was seen no more.

Miwok story as told by
Silvia Burley, Chairperson
California Valley Miwok Tribe
02/07/2015  ©



The Meaning Behind The Colors

tribal flag
Welcome to my blog. The Tribe is especially proud of its flag. Our colors are Yellow, Orange, Red and Brown. Yellow represents the Sun, Orange represents the Moon, Red represents Blood / Life, Brown represents Ground / Earth.

Besides being on display at the Tribal Headquarters, our flag is displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, the San Joaquin Historical Society and Museum in San Joaquin County California.

Our tribal flag is also displayed at special events at the California State Capitol in Sacramento California, and is on display at the Department of the Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington DC.

Silvia Burley, Chairperson
California Valley Miwok Tribe, Stockton, California