Beginning with my own land acknowlegement biography:
I’ve realized that it’s not enough to simply acknowledge the people and land of the present moment, but to understand my own lifetime of occupation and bring that into any statement of acknowledgment that I do. Here is where I have lived and grown:
• mostly grew up in the lands of the Kumeyaay (San Diego);
• but also some small kid time in the ‘aina of Kanaka ‘Oiwi known as Waikiki Ahupua’a, Moku o O’ahu (Waikiki, O’ahu). I lived on Lipe’e’pe’e Street near the Alawai Canal.
• the lands of the Ramaytush, Ohlone, and Muwekma (San Francisco Bay Area);
• the ‘aina of Kanaka ‘Oiwi known as Waiakahiula Ahupua’a, Moku o Keawe (Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores subdivision, Pahoa, Puna District, Hawai’i Island);
• the lands of the Southeastern Pomo (Glenhaven, north shore of Clear Lake, Clearlake County, CA);
• the lands of the Kalapuya and Confederated Tribes of the Grand Rond (Eugene and Springfield, Willamette Valley, Oregon).
Books 1 & 2: Hawai’i Nei
It’s not “real estate,” it’s someone else’s home.
The first two Guild of Ornamental Hermits books, The Dire Deeds and The Witching Work, are located in a “not too distant future” when the U.S. has agreed to cease its long-standing beligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom (Queen Liliu’okalani was forcibly removed from governing her kingdom in 1893). Since then, immeasurable harms have occurred to the people, na Kanaka Maoli (also called Kanaka ‘Oiwi), and to their cultures, customs, language, water and land rights and access, and to the ‘aina (land) and living creatures of the islands and its surrounding waters.
By setting these first two books in a time and place where the proper Kingdom government is reconstituting itself, I hope to make people aware of the true situation on the ground. And to also affirm that this ground contains ancestors and spirits as well as living corporeal beings, all of whom must be reckoned with.
Just a little background
I do come by this interest in Hawai’i honestly. Not to foreground myself, but I did put in a lot of time and energy over the years, educating myself and also attempting to educate other whyte people in Berkeley (where “Free Tibet” bumperstickers are popular) about why “Free Hawai’i” should be added to their mix of progressive concerns. I can’t say I was very effective, but in other ways I attempted to assist when it was wanted.
I hope to see a restored Hawaiian Kingdom in my lifetime. I don’t think that’s a fantasy, even if I have chosen to include this issue in a fantasy novel series. I fervently hope for an end to U.S. occupation and the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an inevitable political reality.
Book 3: Lake County, CAlifornia
The third book, The Queerest Quest, is set in Lake County, California. This is Pomo land, where various clusters of people lived for 12,000 years before white people arrived to brutally kill and enslave them. In the book, the Hermits of Hermitville take refuge in a fictitious Arts & Crafts style vacation home which belonged to the Croom family for several generations. I imagined this home on a hill, close to the small community of Glenhaven where I actually lived while writing this book. Glenhaven is on the North Shore of Clear Lake and is the land of the Southeastern Pomo.
Lake County is known for several particularly brutal histories of white violence, including the physical and sexual abuses committed by Andrew Kelsey and Charles Stone; the wholesale massacre of hundreds of old men, women, and children at Bo-No-Mo-Ti Island at the upper North end of the lake (1850) (see CA Historical Marker); and the present-day Superfund Clean-Up site that adjoins the Elem Indian Colony. In 1971, the Bureau of Indian Affairs took mercury-contaminated soil from the mine site and exported it to the Elem Colony, to level the ground. To this day, the still-contaminated soil causes cancer, liver, and kidney problems for the Elem residents. Sadly, the contaminants from the mine and agriculture have also polluted the entire lake. It is no longer safe to eat the fish in this oldest lake in North America.
Book 4: willamette Valley, Oregon
By the beginning of the fourth book, The Perilous Past, the “Hermits” have left Lake County and moved north to a small farm just outside Eugene. This is the land of the Kalapuya, Winnefelly, Yoncalla, and others (Takelma, Upper Takelma, Latgawa, Shasta, Applegate, Galice, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, Quilsieton Band of the Chasta, Nahelta Band of the Chasta, Cownantico Band of the Scotons, Sacheriton Band of the Scotons, Naalye Band of the Scotons, Upper Umpqua, Tualatin, Yamhill, Luckiamute, Mary’s River, Muddy River, Long Tom, Calapooia, Mohawk, Tekopa, Chafan, Santiam, Pudding River, Northern Molalla, Clackamas, Cascades, Clowwewalla, Multnomah, Cathlamet, Skilloot, Southern Molalla) who are now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde.
The Book 4 section will be expanded soon.