What does it mean personally to be here on Coast Salish lands? What does it mean for me to be colonized and to be a colonizer? In this collection, I grapple with these issues and more. Drawing from my life experiences in several areas across the Pacific—Samoa, Hawai’i and the Coast Salish—I write to build relationships and hopefully move towards healing and reconciliation.


I wish first to acknowledge the Coast Salish peoples—the indigenous peoples of today’s central Puget Sound region whose land touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations, and whose land continue to teach me what it means to respect home.

About the coach numbers

6220-6241 are King County Metro RapidRide buses that were brought for the future RapidRide H-Line. These are 18.2 meter low floor series hybrid buses designed and built by New Flyer. RapidRide H-Line is a Bus Rapid Transit (“BRT”) line that will serve my home community of White Center.

6220 A warrior’s cry—Part II

My name is Fa’aumu Kaimana Elsea. I am of complex identities, a queer male, a university student, and the only known survivor of my immediate family that has died in part because of the belief that hard work yields prosperity.

Let me explain.

6221 The honi

She lay in bed, her mind wandering, and unlearned everything she learned

All there was to learn about the world.

6222 A breath of hope

Her hā, so delicate, so sacred, surprisingly full of mana. It held so much hope—promise, even.

6223 A warrior’s cry—Part III

After several years of casino visits, the mother felt too weak to continue. She passed away from late lung cancer. Meanwhile, the child continued to attend university, prioritizing school above all else.

That was a version of my childhood story.

6224 Vā – We in this together

It’s hard to let go. Amidst political spiral—combined with urban sprawl and proliferation of post-modern consumerism—our relationships with community and the work we do must remain strong. This is my gift to the first “Indigenous Research Methods” class at UW.

6225 Smokey’s Pipe and Coffee

Situated on the nearside of University and King across H-1 is a coffee shop. Its banner screams “COFFEE * KAVA * WIFI.” Now, I’m one to be quite skeptical of these kinds of shops, as ‘ava is usually served in protocol and ceremony. Out of curiosity, and because my study abroad friends were dying to try some ‘ava, I didn’t hesitate to check it out.

6226 A painful past, a hopeful future

I began my Pacific Island adventures in Hawai’i with the understanding that while the island nation is unique in many ways, she bears also many similarities in U.S. metropolitan areas. In urban O’ahu (not the touristy kind), there are freeways, Gillig Low Floors, neighborhoods, suburbs, schools, museum and traffic. Among some Pacific Northwest influences: Boeing 777 (Seattle), Sportworks bus bike racks (Woodinville), Safeway (American Falls, Idaho), Starbucks (Seattle), and “The Handi-Van” (King County).

6227 Crash landing in Sāmoa

Crash landing—e.g. you can feel her mana an hour before, but you can’t really figure out how or why until that same mana hits you.

6230 Stew

Stray dogs have become a normal part of everyday life. We taken a liking to one dog in particular, Stew. He lives on University grounds.