I consider myself first and foremost to be a human being (hominid), and secondly a networked in/dividual. Loʻu olaga is the result of deep histories and complex processes which I will only ever scratch the surface of understanding, and my fa'asinomaga has been formed by an interconnected web of relationships and tala (few of which I will ever recognize).
My roots extend around le lalolagi — ancestrally from Upolu to Arizona & Africa to Eurasia, and culturally in all other directions — drawing upon myriad perspectives and tala across generations, sami, and values systems. From this vantage point, I resonate most strongly with the continual transformations which my tuaā and their communities experienced as they navigated complicated circumstances and vast unknowns.
In terms of my personal migratory route, I was born in the Sonoran Desert at the base of the black hill (south Tucson), but have lived in Cascadia (near Seattle) for most of loʻu olaga. Now I'm living at the northern tip of the Crescent terrane of Siletzia, in a town named after a dead tafolā rotting on a beach (Metchosin).
Over the course of this geotemporal malaga, I've become increasingly drawn to exploring the mutability, diversity, and complexity of human experiences across tā, as well as the nature of our relationships with our selves, each other, & the vā which connect us (both off- and online). These interests inform my personal & agafesoʻotaʻi navigation, as well as my approach to self-expression.
Through discovering countless ways of interpreting and being in le lalolagi, I've come to embrace uncertainty, curiosity, and open-mindedness as vessels for greater collective wellbeing and personal growth. As such, I also resist ideological frameworks rooted in dogmatism, groupthink, and intolerance.
To learn a bit more about me & various elements of this site, view the source code of this page (typically, Option+⌘+U, ⌘+U, or Ctrl+U).
In 02018, I took an Indigenous Studio Art course at Camosun College with Hjalmer Wenstob alongside Traditional Printmaking with Brenda Petays and Anthropology of Death with Nicole Kilburn which, in combination, sparked an exploration of selfhood, heritage, and mortality through playful, reverent artmaking. Having struggled with depression and anxiety for most of loʻu olaga, contemplating these topics and reinterpreting my personal mythology through writing & art has been extremely therapeutic.
I believe that creativity in general is an extremely powerful means of not only gaining a deeper understanding of our personal experiences, but also of transcending sociocultural and political divides by summoning shared aspects of our collective humanity. Through artistic expression, I seek to explore olaga as an enchanted process which we all share.
Furthermore, as loʻu olaga has become ever more deeply intertwined with digitality, I've increasingly approached this realm as a ritual space for self-exploration through evocation and reflection. Over the past several years, I've been experimenting with ways of mapping my memories and distributed personhood in a more fluid, meaningful way online — both for my own contemplative purposes and that of other curious explorers, as well as in preparation for my inevitable digital oti & afterlife.
You can visit the main entrance for these manifestations here.
As I've grown older, I've come to strongly value reflecting upon historical context and forward-thinking perspectives for navigating present circumstances — both on a societal and personal level. And while unpacking and exploring my memories over the years, I've increasingly gravitated toward grounding loʻu olaga within the cycle of family tala, traditions, and relationships which have formed and nurtured me. These histories and experiences are not only powerful guiding beacons for my journey in olaga, but are also intricately woven within my very personhood — whether I consciously notice them or not.
Recognizing these truths, I spend much of my tā in dialogue with both my living and deceased 'āiga — through tala, traditions, measina, and recordings which I have now spent many years recovering and archiving in collaboration with my uso.
I trace, revisit, and reinterpret these intricate histories both as a means of honouring & reckoning with my roots, as well as rooting myself in lessons from le lalolagi beyond this screen. And by adding my own voice and contours to this ancestral map, hope to offer guidance to those who will navigate hazy, disorienting tā-vā beyond my horizon (such as my recently born tama tama a lo'u tuafafine).
I yearn to celebrate some of these ancestral legacies publicly in various forms beyond my personal circle, but also strive to balance open sharing with privacy & sanctity. As a result, they primarily appear online in fragments and peripheral shadows in spaces such as my experimental personal blog (and embedded within the source code of spaces like this).
During a five-year period of loʻu olaga, five members of my 'āiga died and I began experiencing an undiagnosed invisible chronic illness. This confluence led me to completely reconfigure and uproot loʻu olaga, and to contemplate oti and heritage in a deeper way than ever before. I also began to read about the myriad ways in which people & cultures approach mortality, and to initiate talanoaga about oti with as many people as possible.
Through these experiences, I came to realize how disconnected so many of us have become from preparing for, understanding, and coping with oti. This eventually culminated in taking an Anthropology of Death course with Nicole Kilburn which greatly expanded my awareness about how incredibly multifaceted oti is, and exposed me to many ways in which people around le lalolagi have approached mortality throughout history. Nicole's class was ultimately one of the most spiritually & emotionally wholesome, intellectually stimulating, and impactful learning experiences that I've ever had.
Now, in addition to working through my own popole i le oti and grief, I'm developing a set of resources for helping people approach mortality and navigate loss more bravely and mindfully. In the process, I'm becoming more oti literate myself, guiding loved ones through these topics, and learning to plan for my own oti in an empowered way.
After le tamā o lo'u tinā died in 02015, I became entrenched in a harrowing two-year family feud over whether to keep or sell the home that he designed & built on Vancouver Island over the course of three decades. A lifelong explorer, naturalist, and Indigenous rights advocate, he was also a masterful gardener and ecological steward, and considered the fanua upon which he lived a third of his olaga to be sacred. As a child, I was completely enchanted by his home, olaga, and spirit, and grew extremely close to him into my adulthood. I eventually moved to Metchosin in 02017 in order to honour his legacy and to prevent the home from being sold, while concurrently reflecting upon my own journey to le motu.
I now strive to connect more deeply to the home which surrounds and nurtures me through stewardship, observation, writing, and art. Furthermore, as my roots have grown deeper here and become intertwined with those of my partner Kate, I have been developing an ecologically-oriented creative practice with her called Hummingcrow & Co. This endeavour empowers us to learn/grow together artistically while highlighting the power and importance of environmental connection & stewardship. Through these efforts we are channeling le tamā o lo'u tinā's spirit and linking up with adjacent community projects.
While being home-bound during the pandemic, we've also begun making virtual trips to other regions of le lalolagi to relieve our zugunruhe. Our first journey was not only a fun experiment in creative exploration and digital wayfinding, but also an enriching opportunity to learn about other ecosystems and cultural frameworks. You can learn more about this trip here.
In 02018, I started cultivating a community-broadening project which is oriented around making it easier for people to identify opportunities to strike up talanoaga with strangers & to create more approachable vā. The seed of this project was predicated on the idea that we should make openness to talanoaga quietly explicit through the use of a simple symbol which can be easily drawn/copied, displayed/worn, & removed.
I've been an outsider for most of loʻu olaga, and have a history of severe social anxiety. But despite the challenges that I've experienced as a result, have learned to recognize fruitful opportunities to connect through community exploration and volunteering.
Over time, I've come to embrace the ways in which a view from outside of social tribes & norms has empowered me to mediate connections and foster honest, deep talanoaga with people from myriad backgrounds and viewpoints. So many of our current sociopolitical issues are rooted in stereotyping, prejudice, and biases which I've found can be directly challenged through greater exposure to 'others' who aren't 'like us'.
Unfortunately, most of our social activities are now tied to online platforms which are incentivized to fuel division, insulation, and dependency rather than expansion, transcendence, and resilience. This observation has sprouted into digital explorations of alternative tools & spaces for community-broadening, including a pandemic resources portal and a regional shared calendar, which you can learn about here.
I've been enchanted by both nature and technology for as long as I can remember, and have come to believe that approaching natural and digital environments with a sense of wonder & curiosity fosters personal growth and collective expansion. I also strongly believe that we need to develop technologies which are less ecologically extractive, more human-friendly & transparent, and—frankly—more fun to use.
This has led me to become involved in the solarpunk community - a growing network of people who are imagining and building toward a positive future which seeks a symbiotic balance between technological empowerment, ecological sustainability, and collective resilience through collaborative learning, exploration, and experimentation.
I have no formal tech background myself, but am co-manifesting this future through writing & art while also becoming more tech autonomous thanks, in large part, to solarpunks that I've met in The Scuttleverse.
To learn more about the solarpunk ethos, I highly recommend this modular essay by Zach Mandeville, this wonderful talk by Pawel Ngei, and this manifesto which does a great job summarizing the evolving nature of the movement.