In my adulthood, I have lived in four cities, but this is the first one I step into as myself. I just landed in Seattle and it feels like I’ve arrived home. Home to a place where I’ve never physically been, but a place my heart and soul have been breathing in for the entirety of my life.
My father was raised in Umatilla about five hours from here. My uncle, grandfather, and other various relatives are buried in a small graveyard about seven hours from here. I was raised until I was seven on the Snake River in the same area my family is buried. And in the last fifteen years in the cities now surrounding me, both of my father’s brother’s started families, lived beautiful lives, and breathed their last breaths. Yes, the Pacific Northwest is pulsing through my veins, as it always has, sweetly seducing me into its arms to seek the wonder and fulfillment its placed in the hearts of my father’s family before me.
Here I will reclaim who I was and who I have always been growing into. The fierce, passionate great-granddaughter of Na-Oh-See-Ah-Nokata, who refused to wait for death and poverty on a reservation and who foreshadowed great things of her offspring. The devoted, loving granddaughter of Edgar, who diligently worked as a lumberjack in upstate Washington to support the three boys he raised alone after the death of his beloved wife. The goofy, outgoing niece of Joe, who wanted life to be a joyous celebration and who brought laughter to everyone he knew despite the demons he sometimes battled in his own heart. And the compassionate, determined daughter of Tom, who can muster up strength and lightheartedness in every situation.
So here I am, awaiting my unpaved future. I am ready to grow, to be molded by God’s very own hands, to learn from my past, to shape my future… And to take claim of this beautiful land that has captivated my family for generations. I am truly coming home in my mind, body, and soul.