We all have moments (I hope) when we say, “This is what I live for!” For me, such a moment comes when I find myself fully in the presence of history; when all signs of the present day fade from my consciousness and I can imagine myself transported back in time. There is a comfortable feeling that comes with this; a feeling akin to deja vu, yet different: a feeling not that I have been here before, but someone, perhaps an ancestor of mine, has been here or had an experience like this, many years ago.
I was lucky enough to have one of these moments today as I was videotaping a Native American woodcarver named Saduuts paddling a canoe on Lake Union (above). Saduuts paddled patiently back and forth as I scrambled along the shore with my camcorder and tripod, trying to frame him in ways resembling how early settlers in Seattle might have seen Cheshiahud and other Native Americans on the lake.
Earlier in the afternoon, I interviewed Saduuts on tape as he worked on hewing an ocean-going canoe from an enormous log. I hope to use this interview and other footage of him in my website on Lake Union history.
Videotaping with Saduuts was a big step toward bringing the Native American perspective to my website. My next step, if all goes well, will be to videotape one or more members of the Duwamish tribe. Saduuts is descended from the Haida, a tribe from Canada and the Alaska panhandle, so although he talked eagerly about canoes and wood carving, he deferred to the Duwamish on anything pertaining to local Native history. Also, Saduuts’ canoe is painted with traditional Haida family markings, so I realized that many of the shots I got today will not be appropriate for illustrating the story of the Duwamish on the lake.
In other news, I spent an hour yesterday in the landscape architecture office of Richard Haag, scanning some of Richard’s personal slides of Gasworks Park. Richard is in Europe now, lecturing on “Trees in the City,” but he left his slides with an assistant, who kindly helped me scan them. Thanks to the wonderful cooperation of Richard and his staff, the chapter on the Gasworks will be the first page of my website to go online, just a few weeks from now!