Print by Marvin Oliver

The hot days of summer make us move a little slower, taking time for puttering. But they also give us time for introspection; for taking stock of what is important. Dailiness sounds like my childhood diary, where page after page said “Nothing happened today.” But of course something happens every day. I’m happy with our morning routine where Dr. A presents me with a latte to start the day. It’s a nice gesture intended to soften the TV news of fires and politics which is never good. We keep thinking we will turn the news off and cancel the newspaper which is nothing more than two or three pages of what was seen the night before. But we do not, because the habits of a lifetime keep us curious, and that constitutes dailiness.

Greek mythology relates how a large white bird fell from favor and was transformed into a large black raven, a favorite omen of warning, tragedy or disaster, and the negative messenger in Poe’s famous poem.

The image above is by my friend Marvin Oliver, Professor of Indian Studies at University of Washington. The interpretation of Art is in the eyes of the beholder, without which there is no Art. To me the broken heart he is presenting to the ancient abandoned village in the background signifies loss. Loss of a way of life and of a proud people whose Dailiness was not enough to sustain their culture. The tribal Journey Paddle to Puyallup brought canoes from as far away as Alaska and from California, which shows that the culture is alive and well.

The days of our youth and unyouth did not include frequent trips to visit the doctor, or the quack as my British friend calls him. Today if I miss calling a friend I find that he/she has had a hip or a knee replaced in the meantime and is already up and ready to go. Our capacity to maintain seems to lessen as we grow older, so I was not surprised to learn yesterday from the young foreign-born eye quack that I am now considered legally blind. Of course that term is broad and subject to qualification. I cannot drive, which I accept as another of those things I don’t have to worry about. One learns to gracefully say goodbye to things with as little regret as possible. The handicapped have so many options for a so-called “normal” life today, we should be grateful. The good new that day was from the leg surgeon who said he would see me in one year.

While waiting somewhat patiently for the pretty young retinal specialist to appear, I thought of the days when if you went to a doctor he could fix your hang nail, clean your ears, offer advice on every part of your body, and possibly tell you to stop complaining. Today each of those parts needs someone whose expertise seems to have ended after they learned to spell their discipline.

The interesting thing about Dailiness, is that it really does change every day. If it doesn’t try using the new app GOYA; Get Off Your Apps. Turn the TV off, stop looking at your e-mail, go for a walk. It’s a beautiful summer day.


Emmett Oliver & Granddaughters

                                                                                 THE RIGHTS OF PASSAGE

“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 will be the best we can offer.  Share your knowledge with others as they did in the past.
The Raven canoe above them represents our kinship with our neighbors from the north.

Canoe Journey has no boundaries.

The village flames near the beach reminds 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.

Mt. 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 and 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.

In honor of my father,

Marvin Oliver, August 2, 2012

MARVIN OLIVER is Professor of Art,University of Washington.  His sister, MARYLIN OLIVER BARD,and daughter and niece, pulled in the family canoe for this long Journey.