Breaking Green Ceilings

Breaking Green Ceilings

EP 64: The Power of Indigenous Storytelling (Pt2)

November 15, 2022

In the second part of a two part series, we will continue talking about The Whale Child, a book written and illustrated by Indigenous authors Keith and Chenoa Egawa. Keith and Chenoa are siblings and enrolled members of the Lummi Indian Nation and of Japanese heritage. 

This book is a reminder of why we are here, why I am here, and why I am doing this work and this podcast. 

In the first part of the episode, we hear more about the role of magic in telling the story and about the inspiration for the book. In the second part of the episode, Keith and Chenoa talk about influences, habits, and advices that helped them in their work and life. 

Magic is a part of life. It is also the potential that we all have that somehow gets limited through conditioning and socialization, especially in modern world. We are able to connect to that magic – if we wish to – through our dreams. It comes from the heart, not the mind. But now, we do not even know what the heart is saying any more. 

We want you to remember you’re important; this is who you are. You can be what you want to be. But what is your goal? Is it to make money? And, is it to make money at the cost of life? It does not matter if you’re a good engineer; if your job is destructive, you’re destroying the Earth. It is important to bring this reality to our children now and prepare them to what is happening and what is going to happen. 

Episode Highlights

  • We have stories about whales and orcas. They’re akin. It is not just some kind of idea of magic, but these are parts of our wisdom and understanding over thousands of years.
  • If you want to connect with your magic, you have to open something within yourself to remember what is already in you.
  • We were inspired to write the story because we saw the power of the birth of our nephew, and what happened during that time. 
  • We want all children to remember that they are this precious and this sacred.
  • And then the environmental message came too, because of where we are now. We thought of all our children and our nieces and nephew, thinking about all of them and wanting to have that hope for them. That’s how the story came about. It came from a dream that my sister had. 
  • There’s a change of jobs that needs to happen. There’s a change in our conciseness that needs to happen. If you’re doing a job, it needs to have some aspects of caring about the Earth, life, and healing.  

Contact information and other Resources:

Keith Egawa is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Creative Writing program and author of the novel Madchild Running. Keith’s extensive work experience in the fields of Child and Family Services and Indian Education Reform has provided him with both inspiration and insight into his subject matter.

Chenoa Egawa holds a BA in International Business and Spanish from the University of Washington. In addition to being a writer, Chenoa is an activist for Indigenous communities and the environment, a ceremonial leader, medicine woman, singer, storyteller, and artist dedicated to bringing healing to our Mother Earth and people of all origins. 

Breaking Green Ceilings:



Follow Keith and Chenoa Egawa: 

Instagram: The Whale Child

Facebook: The Whale Child


E-mail: chenoa egawa

Penguin Random House: The Whale Child

Amazon: The Whale Child