An islander adrift on a continent

The mapmakers say that the world is made up of Islands and Continents. Today’s islands were, once upon a time, connected to larger land masses. The geologic movement of continental shelves and climate changes over millions of years speak to me today of a sense of Time that wants to interrupt my modern mind. As an Islander adrift on a continent called Turtle Island, I am slowly awakening and wanting to be liberated from the conditioning of a Modernity that demands that Time be controlled and parceled into pieces and be in sync with machines and rhythms that refuse to stay grounded and rooted in Place.

Many indigenous peoples who know in their bones what it means to be rooted in Place are now, like me, also adrift in the “elsewhere”. We are diasporic. We are scattered. I come from 7000+ islands known as the Philippine archipelago that were once connected to the Sunda and Wallacea shelf until the rise and fall of sea levels over geologic Time created our islands. We were severed from our Austronesian kin; today we speak over a thousand languages that are all related but almost unintelligible to us.

Western Colonization and empire-building came to our shores 500 years ago and after the genocide, after the stealing of lands, peoples, spices, gold, and silver; after the scattering of the pieces of ourselves, we are again hearing the call to return Home. Home is not a metaphor. Home is a Place. Home is an Archipelago. But can Home also be a Memory? A Vision of an Indigenous Future we would all want to live in? Can we live in Kapwa* Time where the past, present, and future live in our long bodies? *This Filipino concept refers to “You and I are One. In Kapwa there is no Other.”


Leny Strobel

Leny Strobel is a Kapampangan from Central Luzon in the Philippines.

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