After 45 years of people asking me if I come from some exotic country because my name sounds ‘Brazillian’, I decided to make everybody’s life easier, by shortening to “M”.
It’s a name from my father’s mother, Emily Harriet Hesta. Don’t ask me how mum worked it out, I was a 2mth foetus when she decided to call me that. Lucky for me – I was born a girl. Imagine a little boy named that?? Anyway she would have probably changed to a boy’s name and created something out of Stanley George Tulua Sika – which are both grandfather’s names.
I was born on Ocean Island – in the middle of the Central Pacific. Situated across the equator, with their close neighbours the Kiribati group of islands. My birthplace is a dormant volcano, jutting out of the pristine Ocean. It has an area of 6.5 km²,and the highest point on the island is 81 metres (266 ft) high. It is one island with a great story on Humanity and the unfortunate influence of colonial mining, nothing different to most of the Pacific.
Irony is – all of the inhabitants of the Pacific were domestically aligned for adaptions, human mobility and land transactions were negotiated, if not they were inherited. Indigenous people were ready to contend with most environmental or climatic changes. What they weren’t ready for was dealing with Personalities, who came with Literature, wielding WORDS that deemed their authority as being supreme. They had a line of Royalty that apparently linked these ‘literal masters’ directly to God. We natives merely had a cluster of Elders, naked and naive. Although everybody in the indigenous community had access to a spiritual god, through meditation and Sharman type men and women. The Missionaries who came to the islands had proof of their direct lines to God – they had the written word of God.
Indigenous islanders were not ready for the hot-headed, stubbornness of the incoming Colonial pioneers. Their frenzy in pursuit Economic avenues through exploitation of Land and Human resources, was, still is, a methodology that eludes native islanders. Fast, timely outcomes, with rigid schedules and responsibilities.
Teaching Indigenous people to “Hurry Up” is so foreign. It starts with understanding – in order to do something, you must first talk about it, to the right people, and get directions, advice and permission. You can skirt around and ask for idea’s, taking a leap of faith that your idea is valuable. But ultimately, you need Elder’s approval and direction. To begin a conversation, you must make time, to listen and listen as long as it takes the Elder to understand. Slowly, but surely, the Elder’s first!
Sharing my history, is sharing the history of my fellows and kindred, from the homelands of my birthplace. Demonstrating how time is also very important – yet there is a significant difference. You cannot pin an Elder down to make a decision in an hour or two. You must work with the Elder’s, know what they want first…and slide in your idea, making it theirs. This is the time difference, between Indigenous and Colonialist.
So it’s my life mission, to demonstrate, even using my son as a guinea pig for an example. Amongst many things I know very well – Time and Elder’s approval is important.
Save yourself valuable time and call me “M”.