Hulopo'e - Lana'i, Hawaii
Photo: Gillian Cornwall, c December 2006
I've been wondering, where is my home? Is it the place where the safe roof lies over my head? Is it the place of my spirit? Am I so fortunate as to have those things be the same? Is my home the traditional territory of my people? If so, I may be without place. I do not know the traditional lands of my people. For generations, it was the island now known as the United Kingdom; however, I doubt my people originated there either. I believe I descended of Roman and Spanish peoples and I do not know before this or if it is indeed so.
I know I descend from a long line of warriors - people who fought, sometimes to take lands and sometimes to free people. I am not proud of the fact that we took lands and traditional ways of being from so many. I am proud of those who fought oppression and hate so I could live a life with greater freedom to love who I want and engage in the spiritual practices of my choice.
As a result of this lack of knowledge of my traditional lands, I have created home in my soul and attach physical home to where my soul finds peace. Often, that is also my physical place, here in Victoria, British Columbia with people I love but it is also in other places where my spirit understands the flow and harmony of "all", where I am attuned to the ways of other peoples.
I am fortunate to have travelled often to the traditional lands of the Hawaiian peoples. I am fortunate to have spent time learning some of the culture, traditions and ways of living the aloha spirit. This is a path I can comprehend and when I am there, I feel an attachment to the deep spirit of the place and her people. I continue to study and visit. I know these are not my lands. These are the traditional lands of the Hawaiian peoples and I am grateful to be a student and visitor.
Where do you find home? I suppose my lack of attachment to one particular place and a lack of comprehension of border makes my soul my home and, I think I feel pretty good about that. On this, Canadian Thanksgiving, I am grateful to all my teachers.
I am grateful to the Elders at the First People's House, Office of Indigenous Affairs at the University of Victoria who have taught me so much about taking the time to see and to be present in my heart, body and soul. They have taught me so much about their history and ways and the land on which I am grateful to be a visitor/settler.
I am grateful to my Hawaiian teachers and the Lana'i Culture and Heritage Center for your work and teachings and to all the Hawaiian people who open my spirit to the aloha way.
Perhaps I am a nomad of the spirit, a conduit among peoples; perhaps I am a path and not a destination.
With gratitude to all my teachers in this life. I dedicate this post to all of you. You taught me so so much more than a single subject. You taught me how to open my heart and mind to possibility. This is a great gift. Thank you.
"Malama i kekahi i kekahi"
Take care of one, take care of all
-Gillian Cornwall, c. October 12, 2014
Giving the chaka
Signs of Lekwungen Detail
I believe this is a detail of a sculpture by:
Butch Dick - Master Carver