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For Bainbridge Island's Indipinos, it's time to 'Honor Thy Mother'

Gina Corpuz on the land in Bainbridge Island that's been in her family for two generations.
Posey Gruener
Gina Corpuz on the land in Bainbridge Island that's been in her family for two generations.

This story originally aired on February 14, 2020.

Gina Corpuz stands off New Brooklyn road on Bainbridge Island, on land that has been in her family for two generations. She looks in every direction, and sees the history of the Indipino community.

“The Romeros, who lived down the road, there were 12 children,” Gina says. “And then up the hill is where the Rapada children grew up, and there were 13 children in their family.”

Indipino stands for Indigenous and Filipino. It's a community that began one summer, nearly 80 years ago, when Filipino farmhands and Indigenous berry pickers met in the strawberry fields of Bainbridge Island, and fell in love. That first summer, there were 13 marriages.

It was the beginning of a community where all the dads were Filipino, and all the mothers were Indigenous. While there were many aspects of the culture worth celebrating, Gina Corpuz still feels a pang at the thought that their Indigenous mothers were second class citizens in this mixed-heritage community.

For Gina, learning how to honor and understand her mother has been a life's work. And now that she's an elder in the Indipino community, she's working to tell the stories of her mother, and all the Indigenous mothers, while they still can.

Listen to the full story above to hear the story of one Indipino woman, and how she connected to her roots.

Posey produces, reports, and edits stories for Sound Effect. Before joining the Sound Effect team, Posey worked as a producer at KUOW and WNYC. She has also worked for The Moth and StoryCorps. She holds a certificate in documentary audio production from Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She lives in Seattle with her wife, her daughter, and a fluffy dog.