What’s up everyone. It’s dǰ pišpiš. COVID 19 upended the lives of virtually everyone in the globe. Despite this, there are some moments of 2020 that likely could have happened whether or not there is a pandemic. I term these durable moments. Today, I’m here to place these durable moments on a tier list. They range from personal triumphs to the successes of BIPOC communities. Without further ado, let’s do this ****.
2020 is a bad year for the State of Oklahoma, and a legendary year for Indigenous sovereignty. Indian Country Today first reported the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared a large portion of Oklahoma remains Native land as stipulated by treaty. Shortly after that ruling, a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of Oklahoma tribes regarding tribal gaming compacts with the state. State Governor Stitt decried the ruling, saying “In short, we face a question of constitutional proportions about what it means to be the state of Oklahoma and how we regulate and oversee all business in our state.” But Stitt, isn’t that a good thing? You’re being un-settled. If there is one thing these wins have taught us as settlers of Native land, it’s that these lands have never been ours to begin with.
You may recall me as a food prep volunteer for what I called “Papa’s Indian Tacoria” (a subsidiary of First Nations Concessions at UW). At the southwest corner of the HUB Ballroom, trays of ingredients line a kitchen cart. Gillian and I receive the orders and customize each Indian taco to the customer’s specification. While that may sound like **** I’d do when I play Papa’s Burgeria, the memories and relationships I made with First Nations members began in the kitchen and with frybread. The coronavirus will continue to cancel Powwow for the foreseeable future. But First Nations will always be at UW…along with frybread.
Fagal’i Airport used to be the lifeblood of travel between Western Samoa and American Samoa. Since then, the runway has been converted to a test-driving range. My favorite comment: “Test driving range?? On a smooth and straight road 😂🤮🤮. Sole, test driving’s suppose to be done/tested on complicated turns/parking (reverse parking) and speed limit around town area. U-turns and parking in restricted areas is another important factor which you couldn’t do it in any way, shape or form in/with that runway. Too easy!!. That runway’s good for a race tracks for people who are interested with car racing. Samoa’s first race track- cars and dogs. A much bigger business to raise revenue for our economy. Who knows, it could attract some offshore race car drivers or more tourist to attend future events. Spend money to get money!!. Some little funds to turn it around as a proper cars race track. We could be breeding some fast race car drivers around the world. First Pacific Island Nation to have a car race track.👍👍. Just a thought ‘e lafo atu ‘i luga ‘o le laulau a fono!!. Expect no negative comments from the “ka ‘apa”.. Thank you very much!!!. Bite your tongue if you do..😂🤣😎. GOD BLESS SAMOA.”
Despite a loss this year with the West Seattle Bridge closure, the two-way Columbia Street bus corridor compensates. “The new Columbia Corridor embodies our vision of a safe, equitable, and sustainable future,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “With this new path, the commutes of 26,000 people every day [pre-COVID] will be smoother and more reliable between Ballard, Burien, West Seattle, White Center, and more.”
A major win occurred in December for the Compact of Free Association (COFA) communities. After nearly 25 years, Congress agreed in its larger COVID package that Marshallese in the U.S. can access Medicaid. Part of that win had to do with Research Family, who went to Olympia in late February to advocate for the passage of Senate Joint Memorial (SJM) 8017 in the Washington State Legislature. SJM 8017 passed unanimously in both chambers of the Legislature. Among the key provisions, SJM 8017 called for the restoration of SNAP, Medicaid, and other federal benefits for COFA migrants. While we have yet to see whether President Trump will sign the December COVID-19 relief bill, I see the potential for a lasting positive relationship between COFA communities and lawmakers.
Polynesian Culture and American Football
Just prior to UW’s prolonged venture into remote learning, my Polynesian Culture and American Football classmates defined being part of this community as a durable moment in 2020. Little did graduating seniors in the community know that two of Holly’s courses would eventually become part of the permanent course offerings at the UW Department of Anthropology, ready to grow a larger community of Pacific Island scholars dedicated to the Pacific Islander community.
Car Crash with the Samoa Prime Minister
Michael Savusa was caught in Fasito’o-uta in Western Samoa on 5 April 2020. The murder allegations are quite extraordinary, but what’s even more bizarre is the car crash allegations. I bet $2.30 tala that Michael would be known by the public more for his car crash with the P.M. than for the murder. This is what all media outlets do though. They shift people’s attention from the more serious issues and focus on the ones that don’t matter. Nevertheless, good story.
Forget about L’Hôpital’s Rule or Hobbes’ Leviathan. Tami and communities of Southern Lushootseed language learners at UW are continuing a decades-long legacy of bringing the language back to a living context. Read more about it in the College of Arts and Sciences newsletter.
The 2020 Husky 100
The coronavirus uprooted everyone’s lives and caused major disruptions around the world. But it failed to keep this public announcement under its grip. After a mere 30-day delay from the original planned announcement, I am proud to announce that I have been selected as a 2020 University of Washington Husky 100. You can view who the Husky 100 are at http://uw.edu/husky100. Thank you to Dr. Holly Barker, Lorna Hamill, Kai Wise, Jon Olivera, Tami Hohn and countless other folks who have helped and shaped me throughout my undergraduate education at UW.
Pad See Ew
Nothing beats an entire week’s worth of writing and presentations more than takeout.
From “half-***” to “legendary”
I am proud to be named a 2020 University of Washington President’s Medalist. I am deeply grateful for everyone at the University of Washington who have shaped me in every way not previously imagined. Thank you especially to my mentor, Dr. Holly Barker for your unwavering confidence in my and countless others’ academic successes at UW. More than a place of research and critical inquiry, the UW has become a space where families thrive and build relationships. This honor underscores the power of family—chosen and kin—in the success of Indigenous students and students of color.
Operation “Tī Leaf”
These past few days prior to graduation have been very big days for me. Gillian and I commenced a very complex photo operation that involved rescuing tī leaves from Seattle’s industrial district, and keeping 2 meters away from each other at all times as we scaled campus the next day. This is just one of the examples of the great work we did during our operation.
“When I learned of the UW’s decision to move the 2020 commencement online, I too felt downtrodden. Since 2012, I had dreamed of the year 2020 when I would get to graduate from the UW and celebrate with my family. It’s hard to believe that my longtime dream was so damn close to coming true. It’s also hard to believe how much I grew throughout my mischievous yet difficult high school and college years. But while much of what we know as “commencement” is lost to the pandemic, I’m dreaming of something bigger. When I walk across that stage in 2021, I’m not celebrating an academic milestone; I’m celebrating stories. I’m celebrating the hardships you and I faced, the ways we overcame them, and how much stronger our communities have become because of our collective contributions. I’m celebrating the relationships we made and the boundaries we broke in spite of the pandemic. I’m celebrating everything that makes us human.” –Kaimana 2020
A Moment Apart
I don’t know about you, but ODESZA must have predicted this pandemic was going to happen. In this video, everyone except for the choir is social distancing.
Washington NFL Team
From Indian Country Today: “Washington’s NFL team announces official retirement of its racist name and logo, a fight Native activists have been leading for decades.” This is a result of increasing citizen awareness of the racist connotations of the team’s former name.
Evergreen High School Turf Field
From Highline Public Schools: “At Evergreen High School football/soccer field, FieldTurf rolled out the green carpet. 900,000 pounds of rounded sand and rubber granules arrived by semi truck… that’s about 450 1-ton bags. A crew stitched the rolls of synthetic turf together, spread the “infill” granules and fluffed it up with power brooms! The synthetic turf and infill are identical to the materials used at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.” It will be up to all of us to curb the coronavirus so we can put this investment to good use.
Tim Eyman crashes and burns
I’m no expert on this bloke, so take this with a grain of salt. I think voters this August crashed and burned not only Tim Eyman’s gubernatorial campaign, but his whole career too. Washington’s spared from the most persistent and most notorious initiatives antihero I have ever seen in my life. Now the real challenge becomes: in the wake of the crusader’s devastation, can Seattle find a more sustainable source of public transport funding by next year? Tune in to find out.
Black Lives Matter
The successful removal of the George Washington statue could actually serve as a really good advertisement for Tide to Go. Got some of GW’s urine stains on the base of the statue, but the administration is unwilling to let go of the statue itself? Beat the Toughest Stains with Tide to Go Stain Removal Pen. It’ll erase not only the stains, but the statue itself! Or something. Read the 7 demands of the Black Student Union at University of Washington: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-washington-administration-demand-for-the-university-of-washington-administration-to-meet-the-needs-of-black-students
A Successful Election
While 2020 has been tumultuous, neither Trump nor his coronavirus counterpart could stop a successful election from affirming President-Elect Biden’s and Vice-President-Elect Harris’ win.
Graduate School Application
It finally happened, folks! I call this a task win. #amongus #gradschool
And that’s about it. See you.