I'm Invisible

Sifan Kabeta
4th grade, Shepherd Elementary School, DC

With lines from "In California, Salinan Indians Are Trying to Reclaim Their Culture and Their Land" by Allison Herrera, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

I feel like I'm invisible just like the Salinan people
I don't know what my parents think about me when I look in the mirror
The Salinans were a tribe that lived at Toro Creek all comfortable
They wanted recognition from the government
They didn't have money to get recognition
They wanted to teach their language
Gregg Castro said recognition is nothing
"There's thousands of acres back in there though,
the Indians thought they owned" but then
The Spanish missionaries kicked them off their land
They had to relocate
The Spanish used their territory to build a monastery
The Salinans took the missionaries to the judge but lost their real estate
Some thought it was unfair that the missionaries took their land
But their graves are still there
The Salinans lost their land but they're still there


Sifan Kabeta

Hello, my name is Sifan Kabeta. I am 9 years old and I live in Washington D.C. I have 1 sister and 1 brother. I was born in the United States of America and my family is from Ethiopia. I attend Shepherd Elementary School. The reason why I decided to write about the Salinans is because when I was 6 years old, my family got a baby boy. After I got a baby brother, I started to feel invisible because I wasn't getting attention like my baby brother, just like the Salinans. I wanted recognition from my parents just like the Salinans wanted recognition from the government. So that was a conflict for me and the Salinans. So that's why I decided to write about how the Salinans felt invisible just like me. I would like to thank my teacher Ms. Wilson, my parents, and the librarian Ms. Anderson for supporting me in writing this poem.

Read more winning entries from the 2018 Fighting Words Poetry Contest