Some readers may recall that back in January of this year, I stumbled upon a paper regarding my grandfather and the spiritual traditions of the Plateau Salish people. Since that time, I was able to contact the author and learn more about the origins of his writing.
As it turns out, the author Chad Hamill is my distant relative through our common ancestor Jim Elijah, whom I mentioned here and here. Jim was the father of my grandfather Gib Eli, mentioned here, here, here, and here. Chad’s personal genealogical quest led him back to the Spokane country and gave rise to an interest in our cultural and spiritual heritage. Through a series of spirit-led connections, he came into contact with Father Connolly, who was a close personal friend of my grandfather Gib Eli.
Father provided much of the information for the paper, and is now writing a more detailed book regarding his memories of my grandfather.
Within the last few weeks, Chad came to Spokane to assist with the book and arranged a personal meeting with me. Since then, we’ve spoken face to face on at least four separate occasions and shared an instant kinship. The rest of the story belongs to Chad and Father Connolly, so I suppose we'll just have to wait for the book.
On a personal level, what does this mean to me? For one, my head is swimming with new information regarding my grandfather. What is more, I’m continually reminded of the powerful, invisible bonds that draw people together from across worlds, cultures, and distant generations. These voices speak to us from the past and influence the course of events yet unborn. After everything, the power behind this meeting is a mystery, and no doubt the only appropriate response is humility.