When we lose certain elders, it’s almost as if a public library has closed. That is true of Daisy Demientieff.
Long before I ever had the honor of meeting Daisy, I admired her beautiful birch bark split willow root baskets. Years ago, Rasmuson Foundation supported a film about her called “A Beautiful Journey.” Daisy came with the producer to our staff meeting to show the film and talk with us about it. The part of the film I remember most is where she boats down the Yukon River in the Interior, scanning the banks for willow trees with exposed roots. She painstakingly harvested the roots, later turning them into stunning works of art.
She was a sweet, warm lady, a living, breathing library of Athabascan cultural knowledge.
Rest in Peace, Daisy Demientieff. You were loved by many. Alaska thanks you and will miss you.
Note about services: A Mass will be held at Holy Family Cathedral, 800 West Fifth Avenue, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, June 23, 2018, immediately followed by a Celebration of Life Potluck downstairs.