A TRIBUTE TO EMMETT OLIVER
Founder of Paddle to Seattle
Emmett Oliver founded the Canoe Paddle to Seattle excursion in 1989 as a way to ensure that the First Peoples of Washington were traditionally represented in the centennial celebration.
Paddle to Seattle is an annual canoe journey which represents the Northwest Native canoe cultures. This event has evolved to include indigenous participants from Canada, Greenland, Mexico, Russia and Japan.
The young people perform traditional dances and sing songs they have learned while participating in the Canoe Journey. They learn the history and traditions of their Native cultures. They are taught the physical and deep spiritual discipline necessary to navigate the marine highways as their brave ancestors once did.
The Paddle to Seattle has been very instrumental in uniting communities and cultures with a common thread. It has successfully brought back Native American traditions such as dugout canoe building, as well as traditional dances, songs and regalia. These sacred traditions are introduced each year to the younger generations to learn and cultivate a deeper respect for their Native culture and history.
Emmett Oliver was the founder and pioneer of this special event and will always be admired for his rich sense of culture and community. He passed away at the age of 102 and is greatly missed.
His vision was to revitalize a cultural tradition that would bring tribal communities together and at the same time teach traditional values, language, culture, personal discipline and spiritual endurance. The annual event, which is now termed “Canoe Journey”, brings Native peoples from the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere together in celebration of culture on the water.
Today the “Canoe Journey” continues to awaken the native youth by focusing their attention on traditional teachings and imbuing them with the physical and spiritual discipline enabling them to travel the marine highways of their ancestors.
This Canoe Journey revival is a special yearly event involving adults and children of Native cultures and serves to preserve their sacred culture and rich history for generations to come.
The Paddle to Seattle was also very instrumental in enriching and uniting families with a common theme. It brought back Native American traditions such as canoe building, regalia, dances and songs to the younger generations. Emmett’s spirit journey began at the ripe old age of 102 and he is dearly missed.
EXPERIENCE ALASKA’S NATIVE CANOE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS TODAY!