Written by Wesley Enoch


The story goes something like this… When my great, great grandmother was born, it was under a tree – a tree her mother had chosen. We believe the tree you’re born under gives you something… like part of its spirit – and this tree was chosen ’cause it was strong with a wide trunk, yet supple enough to bend in the wind to survive fierce storms… While her mother held onto a branch surrounded by her aunts, my great, great grandmother was born.

The story goes that my great, great grandmother spent the first years of her life learning all about the island and the ocean. How to fish and cook everything from the sea – dugong and turtle, whiting and eugaries… and even at a young age the older women would bring her things to cook. She had a knack for putting foods together in a way which made them taste better. This was her island, her home.

When the white men came it didn’t stop her, she cooked and hunted as she had always done. She’d watch the ships coming and going but didn’t think anything of it. But when they cut down her birth tree, she felt it… like something had been torn out of her. She was in a canoe out on the bay fishing, and she felt like something had hooked her in the chest, was pulling her in, reeling her back to the shore. She went straight to the place – the stump where it had once stood. She followed the tracks where the log had been dragged and in the pile of dead trees at the bottom of the hill she found it – gutted. She followed the log and watched it made into lumber, tracking it until she knew exactly where it was. In the kitchen.