My friend Darryl, a Sto:lo storyteller and retired seafarer living in Spain, once told me of growing up in a logging camp on the Olympic Peninsula where his grandmother was camp cook. Keeping him company as a young boy were the bears and birds and people of Elwha, a tribe of the S’Kllalam nation near Port Angeles. Darryl’s grandfather was gifted a canoe paddle by the Elwha, which he has to this day.
Darryl’s father, who later became a lawyer, fought the damming of the Elwha River in the Olympic Mountains with his own money, and although unsuccessful in his battle to protect the King salmon from industrial onslaught, his valiant effort still evokes pride in Darryl.
Today, as plans for removal of the Elwha Dams have been set in motion by the Department of the Interior, I thought of Darryl’s family story, and the metaphor it evokes. Surrounded by good company, courageous colleagues and determined associates, we fight the cognitive war in support of those who battle on the ground to restore the earth for all humanity. As such, pulling a paddle in the canoe called Fourth World Eye, is both a way to honor those who fought before us, as well as to mentor those who will come after. With that metaphor in mind, it’s always a good day.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here