Noted artist Marvin Oliver, Quinault/Isleta Pueblo, has designed a print, “100 Canoes,” to commemorate the participation of 100 canoes in the 2012 Canoe Journey/Paddle to Squaxin.
“We counted 104 canoes,” Paddle to Squaxin Coordinator Debra Meisner reported in an email. The number is a Canoe Journey record.
Marylin Bard, the artist’s sister, said it was her father Emmett Oliver’s dream to see 100 canoes participate in the Journey in his lifetime. The elder Oliver, who is now 98, coordinated the first Journey, the Paddle to Seattle, in 1989 as part of Washington’s Centennial Celebration. Thirteen canoes participated that year.
Emmett Oliver, his daughter, and Duwamish Chairwoman Cecile Oliver Hansen were in Olympia’s East Bay July 29 to witness this year’s Canoe Journey landing.
The print was gifted to the Squaxin Island Tribe at the Oliver family’s protocol Aug. 3, and Bard read the following story about the print, written by her brother:
As the spirits of the past and those of the present ascend from the sky, we join and become one.
Spirit canoes in the clouds are of the past, present and those of the future. As the Salish canoe drifts down through the mist, it represents the essence of our traditional canoe heritage. The “new” canoe reminds us of our commitment to succeed in our Journeys. Our determination to pursue new and creative ideas is founded in tradition. To ensure that our canoes are and always be the best we can offer. Share your knowledge with others as they did in past. The Raven canoe above them represents our kinship with our neighborsfrom the north. Canoe Journey has no boundaries. The village flames near the beach remind us that our traditional Native values are burning bright. Keep stoking the fire and never let it burn out. Share and pass on your traditions for future generations to enjoy. The petroglyphs in the sky are symbolic of the Squaxin people. It belongs to them for others to appreciate and admire. It looks upon us as one. We are of one family. A canoe family. Mount Rainier behind our Salish "village of the past" represents our majestic world. Take care of it. The raven among the clouds is our messenger. He carries our stories our songs around the world for all to hear. A Salish welcome figure near the beach invites his guests to their village with pride and open arms. Respect your welcome.
Emmett's canoe, the Willapa Spirit, views upon the 102 invited canoes with pride and respect. Etched in the surrounding waters of the Northwest, his spirited vision once only a delightful dream, is now fulfilled.