Thanks to mural artist for clarification

Thanks to the artist for responding about the mural at VCA. By publishing the back story, it’s easier to understand the mural’s suggestions. I’m also relieved our original letter raises questions towards enriching dialogue about these liberating subjects.

I’m white. I grew up in Massapequa, Long Island near New York City. Our house was on the Massapequa River which flowed from a waterfall out of Massapequa Lake at the top of our street. As a kid, I was curious about the native indigenous people, the Massapequa Tribe. If this was their home, where had they gone? My inquiries didn’t get much if any response from my elders; those native folks were just gone. So I learned to do that, too — erase even the questions from my imagination.

These days, I’m learning about racial equity in America. Once upon a time, folks of color and poor (as in not ruling class) white people communed and labored together. The idea of whiteness was invented by elite power-holders and put into law after the 1660’s Bacon’s Rebellion, an action that threatened the source of cheap labor needed for profit-making industry. Elites used a “divide and conquer” strategy. They gave special privileges to the commoner white males — particularly to own land and bear arms; unity unraveled.

Over a year ago, I started paying Real Rent to the Duwamish Tribe (Google it). At first, my intent was to repair historic relationship trauma. My awareness grew to learn that contemporary indigenous folks remain the “real” guardians of this land I call home, whether it be Massapequa, N.Y. or SXw eBaBs/sHebabS Coast Salish Vashon Island.

We are still guests here. Our colonizing history paints a rationalized story to cover over the stories of folks who continue to be our hosts.

— Karen Nelson


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Wildfires must be turning point for climate action

As the smoke clears, remember when you could barely breathe and everything became sepia.

Unemployment impacts the island community

Almost 600 islanders are still unemployed following the Governor’s COVID-shutdown orders in March.

We still need each other

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all vulnerable.

On Vashon, hope comes from working together

Stories of islanders lending a hand to build a more perfect, compassionate commons give us hope.

Zen and the Art of Well Maintenance

Here is what you should do to safeguard a residential well and the island’s collective water supply.

Think of Bees Before Using Harmful Chemicals

Some insect control products have been shown to be very harmful to bees.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

A rent fund helps those most impacted by economic free-fall

We are working diligently and persistently to keep people in their homes in the midst of this crisis

Schools needed more input on learning plan

We wish that there had been more intensive communication and outreach to Vashon families.

Most Read