Elder Emmet Oliver was born in Chinook territory (South Bend, Washington) on December 2, 1913. He was raised there as part of our Native community and came to be one of the best known and respected Natives of Washington State.
Emmet conceived the Paddle to Seattle that occurred in 1989 as part of Washington’s Centennial Celebration. This event led Frank Brown (Heilstuk) to challenge the canoe nations to paddle to Bella Bella in 1993. This was the birth of our annual Tribal Journeys that has changed the lives of so many
Pacific Northwest Native Americans.
He was also the first Director of Indian Education for the state of Washington. Over the years Emmet has enjoyed returning to Chinook territory to visit with friends, family and Native students in the Indian Education program that he founded in South Bend.
Emmet is the oldest living Chinook Indian, and our community is proud of its connections to his long and accomplished life. Today, his grandchildren
continue honoring this connection by participating as members of the Chinook Indian Nation Canoe Family.