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Native Artists' Biographies

 

ABCDE     FGHIJ     KLMNO     PRST     WY

 

 

A. B. C. D. E.
         
Alvin Adkins Eric Baker Lyle R. Campbell Douglas David Jim Edenshaw
Jomie Aipeelee Fredrick Baker Glen Casimer Glibert Dawson Jonathan Edwards
Marcus Alfred Neil Baker Ike Charlie Danny Dennis Mike Epp
Tim Alfred Wade Baker Jim Charlie Rita Dennis  
Trevor Angus William Baker Peter Charlie Joe Descoteaux  
Kurtis Antone Courage Benally Richard Charlie Beau Dick  
Germaine Arnaktauyok Norman Bentley        Rick Charlie Richard Dicks  
Erroll Ashley Art Bolton Benjamin Chee Chee Denny Dixon  
Cicero August Cedric Bolton Rande Cook Pat Dixon  
  Gene Brabant Walter Crackle Gerry Dudoward  
  Andy Bruce Judy Cranmer Effie (Lo) Durocher  
  Dennis Bruce Nelson Cross    
         

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F.                    G. H. I. J.
Lorne  Fineday Carmen Goertzen         Steve Lawrence Hansen Eugene  Isaac            Noah  Jaw
  Dale T. Gonzales Charles Harper Archie Ishulutak Curtis Miller Joe
  Phillip Gray Glen Harper   Maynard  Johnny Jr.
  Stan Greene Les Harper   Julie  Johnson
  Tony Gulbrandsen Quentin Harris   Brad  Joseph
    Sylvan Ambrose Hart   Charles  Joseph
    Oliver Haskell   Chris Carl Joseph
    Derek Heaton    
    Graham Henry    
    Errol Hillis    
    Douglas Horne    
    Terry Horne    
    Francis Horne Jr.    
    Francis Horne Sr.    
    Ben Houstie    
    Stan Hunt    

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K. L. M. N. O.
Robert  Kelly Rocky  La Rock Robert  MacTavish Harold  Natrall Daphne  Odjig
Saila  Kipanek Aubrey  LaFortune George  Matilpi Pat  Natrall Eddie  Omnik
  Doug  LaFortune Jim  McGuire Willie  Noah  
  John  Lancaster Charles  McKay Maxine (Ioyan Mani) Noel  
  Val  Lancaster Darren  McKenzie    
  Ronald Victor Larochelle James H. Michels    
  Jacob B. Lewis Clarence  Mills    
  Ken  Loo Norval  Morrisseau    
  Andy  Louie      
  David  Louis      
         

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P. R. S. T.
Lorrie  Pambrun Bill Reid Manual Salazar Tommy Takpannie Jr.
Len  Paquette Alfred Robertson Lionel Samuels Tommy Takpannie Sr.
Bob  Paton Jackson Robertson Alfred Scow Marvin Tallio
Chester  Patrick   Laurence Scow Emile Thibert
Tim  Pee   Leonard Scow Robert Thomas
Joanasie  Petaloosie   Raymond Scow Allen Thompson
George  Peters   Rupert Scow Kelvin Thompson
Gary  Peterson   Alfred Seaweed Garnet Tobacco
Jimmy  Petooloosie   Ann Seaweed  
Matthew  Petooloosie   Patrick Paddy Seaweed  
Susan  Point   Gino Seward  
Mark  Preston   Solomon Seward  
    Ralph Shaugnessy  
    Ed Simeon  
    Jay Simeon  
    Egesiak Simionie  
    Russell (Awasatlas) Smith  
    John Spence  
    Robert Stanley  
    Virgil Stanley  
    Terry Starr  
    Art Sterrit  
    Randy Stiglitz  
    Fred Stinton  
    George Storry  
    Carl Stromquist  
    August Sylvester  

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W. Y.
Lloyd Wadhams Jim Yelton
Willie Wadhams Cecil Youngfox
Rueben Wallace  
Stan Wamiss  
Dalbert Weir  
Ray Wesley  
Jerry Whitehead  
Cheryl (White Eagle) Williams  
Harvey Williams  
Nancy Williams  
Rita Williams  
Sanford Williams  
Williams Family  
Willie Brothers  
Bill Wilson  
Derek Wilson  
Joe Wilson  
   
   

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Alvin Adkins

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Alvin Adkins Haida Prince Rupert, BC, CANADA, 1959
 

Alvin Adkins was born on January 19th, 1959 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.  He is of the Raven Clan in the Haida Nation, and one of the most brilliant and impressive artists of the coast. Known best for his exquisitely carved jewellery, Alvin also creates silkscreen serigraphs which are remarkable for their purity and strength of design.

Alvin has been counselled by distinguished colleagues such as Dempsey Bob, Freda Diesing, Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Don Yeomans.

 

 

 

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Jomie Aipeelee

 

 
Artist First Nation Born
Jomie Aipeelee Inuit Iqaluit, NT, CANADA, 1963

JOMIE AIPEELEE  was born on September 11th, 1963 in Iqaluit on Baffin Island in the Northwest Territories.  He has  spent most of his life Iqaluit but has also spent a fair amount of time in Lake Harbour while visiting relatives.

Jomie’s father, Seepee Ipeelie, a known carver for his interpretation of the muskox, originally came from Pangnirtung.  Seepee moved to Iqaluit (then known as Frobisher Bay) in 1945. Note that Jomie spells his name differently from his father.

                           On his father's side, Jomie comes from a family of artists,namely                                                              Ennutsiaq - his great grandfather                                                                                        Nooveya Ipeelie - his grandfather                                                               Seepee Ipeelie - his father

Jomie’s mother is Oolooriak, sister to the late Annie Qimerkpiq, artist from Lake Harbour.  Annie’s husband is Newgilliak Qimerkpiq who is also know for his muskox carvings.

Jomie completed his education at grade 8 and went to work at the Ministry of Transport as a carpenter.  He commenced carving at the age of fifteen but started carving seriously at about twenty-two.  Jomie now carves on a full time basis for his regular income.

Jomie has a good carving education from his family and he likes to carve muskox, as well as whales, hawks, polar bear, seals, narwhal, ducks, walrus, inukshuks and hunters.  His carvings are very strong and direct.
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.
 

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Marcus Alfred

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Marcus Alfred Kwakwaka’wakw  Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1981
 

Resides: Alert Bay

 

Marcus Alfred was born in Alert Bay, September 14, 1981. Alert Bay is noted for its strong emphasis on culture and the arts; it has one of the finest First Nations museums in the world in the U’mista Cultural Centre, and it continues to bring forth and support some of the top artists of the coast.

 

Both Marcus and his art have been profoundly influenced by this connection to Alert Bay. Marcus has had the good fortune of working with Beau Dick and his own father, Wayne Alfred. He learned to carve jewellery from Paddy Seaweed.

 

Marcus is also active in the cultural arena, working as a dance teacher at the high school, and participating in and contributing to the potlatch system. He describes himself as proud to have come from the Bay, and privileged to live in the world of art.

 

 

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Tim Alfred

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Tim Alfred Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1967

 

Tim Alfred was born in 1967 in Alert Bay, British Columbia and moved to the village of Fort Rupert, B.C. in 1985.

His family tree includes the banks of Kwakiutl (Fort Rupert), Namgis (Alert Bay), Mumtagila (Etsekin and area), Mamaleleqala (Village Island) and Tlowitsis (Turnour Island).

At a memorial potlatch for his brother in 1989, his mother’s family placed him in the family’s Chief position at the Big House in Alert Bay, B.C. where he received the name “Mus-cum-tsi”, which symbolizes the four clans of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation.

Tim first started carving in the world-renowned Kwakiutl style at the age of 20 and was mainly taught by Stanley Hunt. Wayne Alfred, Beau Dick and Calvin Hunt were also influences in his carving career. As a young artist he was able to learn techniques in making bentwood boxes, planking from cedar trees, carve masks, paddles, model canoes and making regalia for traditional use in the Big House.

Some of his other projects include two drums and twenty paddles he made for the Fort Rupert Elementary School in 1998.  He has also done charity work for memorial trophies and made donations to various fund-raising events in his community, including the reconstruction auction to benefit work for the Big House in Alert Bay. His work sells to many galleries including sales to museums in Alert Bay and the Royal British Museum in Victoria.

Recently, he has had he opportunity to work on totem poles with Calvin Hunt, Mervin Child and David Knox for the Kwakiutl Band day care project in Fort Rupert.

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Trevor Angus

 

 
Artist First Nation Born
Trevor Angus Gitksan / Tsimshian Hazelton, BC, CANADA, 1970
 

Trevor Angus was born in 1970 in Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada.  He is a member of the Gitksan/Tsimshian nation and takes the Frog as his family crest.  Trevor graduated in 1993 from a four year carving program at ‘Ksan, British Columbia’s first Native art school, situated inside an open air museum representing a Gitksan Village of the 1800’s.  Trevor lists such Northwest Coast master carvers as Vernon Stephens and Ken Mowatt among his teachers.  Trevor is one of many contemporary northwest coast artists continuing the artistic traditions of his ancestors for future generations.

 

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Kurtis Antone

 

Artist First Nation Born
Kurtis Antone Salish Squamish, BC, CANADA, 1970
 

Kurtis was born on the Capilano reservation in North Vancouver, British Columbia and is a member of the Squamish tribe of the Coast Salish Nation.  The Coast Salish people inhabit much of the area of southern British Columbia including the area of Vancouver and its surrounding regions.

 

Raised in a family which possesses a long history of carving native art, Kurtis was naturally drawn to his family’s tradition.  He learned to carve at an early age and was taught the finer points of his craft by carver Pat Natrall Sr.

 

Kurtis’ works feature an attention to detail and distinctive designs that incorporate an innovative use of

colour to make each piece a superb example of the new ideas being pursued on the Northwest Coast today.

 

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Germaine Arnaktauyok

 
Artist First Nation Born
Germaine Arnaktauyok Inuit Igloolik, NT, CANADA, 1946
 

Germaine Arnaktauyok was born in 1946 in Igloolik, Northwest Territories. Her fine art training began at the University of Manitoba under the tutelage of George Swinton. Since that time she has studied at the Algonquin College in Ottawa and, most recently, has completed a print making course sponsored by the Arctic College and Arts Induvik Canada.

Germaine’s imagery strongly reflects her cultural roots, and her pieces specifically explore the myth and folklore of Canada’s Northern people, her ancestors.  Five original works have been purchased for “Art from the Arctic”, a multinational-touring exhibition from the northern circumpolar countries.

Usually, Germaine will work in pen and ink, using coloured pencils to add highlights and detail to her drawings. Her work has graced many children’s books for the Baffin Divisional Board of Education. She has recently added illustrations to “Canada: North of Sixty”, a coffee table book depicting life and experience in the Canadian North.

When not illustrating, Germaine travels North America with the Amway Masters of Arctic exhibition, giving demonstrations of a technique known as stencil printing at such locations as the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the Dallas Museum of Natural History. She is in great demand as galleries throughout the continent have made offers to show her original works and limited edition prints. Germaine’s limited-edition prints are generally produced as copper etchings for which she personally produces the printing plates. Each of her prints is produced in a fixed number. Recent issues have varied from less than 10 to 100. After an edition is manually printed, the printing surface is defaced to protect the integrity of the art. Germaine personally numbers and signs each of the prints in both Roman letters and Inuktitut syllabics. To further assure control and as a GUARANTEE of Authenticity, each of her recent prints is affixed with a trademarked chop-mark or embossed symbol representing an owl.

 

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Erroll Ashley

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Erroll Ashley Cree Enilda, AB, CANADA, 1964
 

Erroll Ashley was born in 1964 in Enilda, Alberta, Canada.  He is a member of the Cree Nation, a tribe that mainly inhabits the eastern region of Canada.  Erroll has made Vancouver his home, on and off, since the early 1980’s.  Related through marriage to the well-known Kwagiulth family, the Harpers, Erroll has been carving in their style since 1982.  Erroll’s original designs, incorporating traditional Kwagiulth characteristics, have come to the attention of both dealers and collectors.  His graceful designs, inspired by his teachers, Doug and Charles Harper, are both works of art and treasured collector’s items.

 

 

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Cicero August

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Cicero August Salish Cowichan Bay, BC, CANADA, 1940
 

Cicero August was born in 1940 in Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island.  This area is representative of the Cowichan Band, a tribe that mainly inhabits the southern region of British Columbia.

Cicero began carving at the very young age of eight.  He reveals that his inspiration to carve Northwest Coast Native artwork came from Mungo Martin, the father of Northwest Coast art responsible for bringing the art back when it was nearly lost as a culture.

Cicero apprenticed under Simon Charlie for four years. Simon, a master carver, taught Cicero the traditional techniques of carving. With much experience and knowledge of his cultural mythology, Cicero has become a master carver himself thereby keeping alive the traditions of his ancestors for future generations.
 

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Eric Baker

 
Artist First Nation
Eric Baker Salish
 

At the young age of eight, Eric Baker began learning the fine craftsmanship of carving wood. He was inspired by the works of Hank Thomas and Marvin Baker. 

As a member of the Squamish band of the Coast Salish Nation, Eric grew up in North Vancouver and continues to live locally in British Columbia, Canada.

His preferred medium is red and yellow cedar, which his ancestors have been carving for generations. He has carved many ornate totem poles, but is most proud of the one that he carved for the school in Squamish, British Columbia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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                                                         Fredrick Baker

 
Artist First Nation Born
Fredrick Baker Salish Squamish, BC, CANADA, 1956
 

Fredrick Baker was born in 1956 in Squamish, B.C. A member of Coast Salish Nation, he takes the Bear as his family crest. Fredrick belongs to a family of prominent and proven Northwest Coast carvers, and he began to carve as a teenager in 1970.  He credits his father, Fred Baker Sr., a famed Salish Carver, and Floyd Joseph as the teachers who provided him with inspiration.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Baker

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Neil Baker Salish Stawumus Reservation, BC, CANADA, 1960
 
Neil Baker was born in 1960 into the Coast Salish Nation on the Stawumus Reservation in British Columbia.  Neil is a self-taught artist who began carving at the age of twelve.  He cites his grandmother, Sadie Baker of Nanaimo, as his inspiration.  Neil spent many hours watching his grandmother weave delicate baskets.  He prefers to work in wood, creating hand carved rattles, totem poles, plaques and masks.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                             Wade Baker
 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Wade Baker Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1956

 

Wade is a sculptor, graphic designer and red cedar carver. He has been carving and creating art since he was a teenager. As a descendent of ancient Coast Salish, Kwakiutl, Tlingit and Haida nobility, Wade has inherited a rich artistic legacy. In these traditions, art is not a separate activity, but is interwoven in life, language, custom and culture. Art is a means of spiritual expression in which a design or piece of art can encompass an entire story.

 

Wade’s preference is to create large public art sculptures. He has worked in steel, wood, glass, marble and many other mediums. His stainless steel North Star was commissioned for the 2010 Olympics and stands at the Vancouver Olympic Village site. One of the highlights for Wade was meeting Prince Charles when the North Star was unveiled in 2009.

 

Wade has also produced smaller public art designs and in 2000, Wade’s wolf design was selected to be part of the millennium series of Royal Canadian Mint quarters. 50 million quarters were produced with Wade’s design and are now in circulation.

 

Wade is a member of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, and a Director at Large for Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia.

 

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William Baker

 
 
 
Artist First Nation Born
William Baker Salish Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1965
 
William Baker was born in 1965 in Lion's Gate, outside Vancouver in the province of British Columbia, Canada. He is a member of the Salish Nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast natives. William takes the Killerwhale, known as the sea manifestation of Wolf and held in awe for its size and power, as his family crest. William began carving in 1983, inspired by the work of his brother, Fred Baker, and cousin, Richard Baker. William carves in red and yellow cedar, creating superb plaques, masks, talking sticks, bowls and totem poles.
 

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Courage Benally

 

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Courage Benally Dene Phoenix, Arizona, USA, 1951
 
Courage Benally was born in 1951 in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. A member of the Dene Nation, he cites his teachers as tribal elders. Courage left Phoenix in the early 1970's to reside in Seattle where he teaches arts and crafts at the Indian Heritage School. Courage has developed close ties to British Columbia through his numerous in-laws who live on Vancouver Island. A skilled dancer, Courage excels at silver work, painting and ceramics.
 

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Norman Bentley

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Norman Bentley Haida Skidegate, BC, CANADA, 1968
 

Norman Bentley was born in 1968 in Skidegate on Haida Gwaii, in British Columbia, Canada. Norman was born into the Eagle Moiety of the Haida Nation. His family has a well-known artistic tradition, including his uncles, the famous argillite carvers Pat and Denny Dixon.

 

Norman began carving precious metals in 1983, largely supported by family and friends. With the encouragement of Bill Reid, Norman was accepted as an apprentice by world-renowned jeweler Toni Cavelti. Norman’s exquisite pieces reflect an innate carving talent, as well as a care and attention to detail that makes each completed piece a true work of art.

 

 

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Art Bolton

 

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Art Bolton Tsimishian Prince Rupert, BC, CANADA, 1949
Art Bolton was born on August 16, 1949 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia from the Kitselas Band of the Tsimishian Nation.  Art’s family crest is the Wolf.

Carving since 1963, Art is an accomplished craftsman under the tutelage of Walter Harris and Vern Stephens. He began his career in Prince Rupert before moving to Vancouver in 1970. Art specializes in gold jewelry but continues to produce traditional masks and feast bowls.

Art Bolton currently lives in Vancouver where he works and teaches.

 

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Cedric Bolton

 
 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Cedric Bolton Kwakwaka'wakw Kitimat, BC, CANADA, 1963
 

Cedric Bolton was born in 1963 in Kitimat, near Prince Rupert, B.C.  Cedric is part of the Haisla Nation and takes the Eagle as his family crest. 

Under the guidance of his older brother Joe, Cedric learned the techniques of drum construction.  Through the expertise of Derek and Barry Wilson, Cedric studied the principles of two-dimensional design.  He has since combined the two to produce handmade drums featuring original paintings.

 

 

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Gene Brabant

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Gene Brabant Cree Victoria, BC, CANADA, 1946
 

Gene Brabant was born in Victoria B.C. on October 16, 1946. “My family moved out here from Saskatchewan during the Second World War and after my father was discharged they stayed in Victoria.” When he was seven they moved to James Bay right behind the parliament buildings in Victoria. The Hunt family lived a half block away and he soon became friends with the sons and daughters of Henry Hunt.

Gene’s father was a professional guitar player and singer. “I remember him singing Hank Williams and Indian songs with Mungo Martin and Henry Hunt until early in the morning, keeping the whole neighborhood up.”

Mungo and Henry were working on the Thunderbird Park project at the Royal Museum Of British Columbia. Gene, along with one of Henry’s sons, Alex, spent a lot of time at the park watching them carve the totem poles and building the big house. Gene also spent a lot of time at the museum looking at the old pieces in their collection. It was at this time that he knew he would be a carver.

In his early twenties he carved on his own and did a lot of painting. A few years earlier Tony Hunt Sr. had offered to teach him to carve and one day he went to Thunderbird Park to talk to him. Tony, along with John Livingston, had just started a workshop and gallery named Arts Of The Raven. Gene spent the 70’s learning and working there.

“Since I’ve been carving, I’ve always been interested in the old style of carving. The way the old masters did their work is intriguing and I did a lot of travelling across Canada and the United States going to museums studying the old pieces. I would like to see them all. I believe you can’t write a symphony if you don’t know all the classics.”

Gene has been in numerous gallery shows. The Museum Of Man in Ottawa has a Thunderbird Transformation of his and the Royal Museum of B.C. has two Bella Coola face Masks. The Seattle Art Museum recently acquired a Geeacum Mask that will be part of their permanent collection. The Museum Of Osaka in Japan has a Tlingit house post he made with Tony Hunt Sr., Calvin Hunt and John Livingston.

 

 

 

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Andy Bruce

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Andy Bruce Kwakwaka'wakw Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1970
 

Andy Bruce is a member of  the ‘Namgis First Nation and was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia; he takes the clever and magical Raven as his family crest.

Andy carved his first piece when he was 12, but only began carving in earnest as an adult. He was inspired to carve by observing the prominent artists in his community, such as Wayne Alfred, Ned Matilpi, and Beau Dick. He began carving in 1991 under the guidance of Jimmy Joseph and quickly mastered the traditional art of carving in red and yellow cedar as his ancestors have done for countless generations.

 

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Dennis Bruce

 
 
Artist First Nation Born
Dennis Bruce Saulteaux Lestock, Saskatchewan, 1961
 

Dennis Bruce was born in Lestock, Saskatchewan in 1961. He’s a member of the Muskowekwan Band of the Saulteaux First Nations.

Art, like laughter, came easily to Dennis Bruce.  With an innate talent and drive to stretch beyond traditional styles, he found himself on the leading edge in the contemporary scene of Canadian aboriginal art.  Using traditional symbols such as the Eagle, Buffalo, Warrior, Mother & Child, he has stayed true to his heritage and paints with a freshness like no other.

Throughout his creative years, Dennis has earned a reputation among his peers and his admirers as a respected and promising artist.  He is a connoisseur of colours, a designer of discoveries and a master of uniqueness.

A child-like innocence dances across the canvas, alive with brilliance, daring in his primary colours and brave in its simplicity. There is a fluid motion that carries through his warrior theme. His sense of family is strong. Huge canvasses carry his defiant style.  His “Story Tellers” shed light into his own story, his people and their unique Canadian heritage.

After three years of teaching clinics throughout Saskatchewan and Edmonton, Dennis resided briefly in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sadly, he passed away in 2000.

 

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Lyle Campbell

 

Artist First Nation Born
Lyle Campbell Haida Hiada Gwaii, BC, CANADA,1969
 

Lyle Campbell, born in 1969, is of the Sta-Sta-aas-Songalth Tribe of the Kaighani Haida of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia).  He’s a member of the Eagle Clan of the Edenshaw (It-in-su) family, and his great grandfather was Chief Albert Edward Edenshaw.

Lyle started drawing at age 8 and carving at age 14. He spent two years studying formal design and one year at the Gitanmax School of Northwest Coast Art at K’san in Hazelton, B.C.  He has had the privilege of working with many talented artists including Tsimshain artist Henry Green, and Haida artist Robert Davidson.

Today, Lyle is working in several media; these include engraving in gold and silver, carving in red cedar, alder, yew and yellow cedar, carving in Argillite, and most recently, limited-edition prints.  He is presently living and working in Victoria, British Columbia.

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Glen  Casimer

Artist First Nation Born
Glen  Casimer Carrier Vanderhoof, BC, CANADA, 1969
 
Glen Casimer is a Carrier Native and was born in 1969 in Vanderhoof, in the north-central part of British Columbia near Prince George. The Carrier Nation is named for the women who “carried” the cremated remains of their deceased spouses for one year. Carrier people call themselves Dakelh-ne or Yinka Dene

Glen learned the principles of carving from his older brother; he then apprenticed with Doug Harper for several years.  He has a unique style of wood carving which is characterized by his attention to detail and blending of colours.

Glen has two children and lives in Vancouver.

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Ike  Charlie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ike  Charlie Nuu-chah-nulth Port Alberni, BC, CANADA, 1967
 
 
Ike Charlie is a Nuu-chah-nulth artist, also known as Nootka. He was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia in 1969. His band is Ahousat, which is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ike was taught to carve by his older brother, Art Charlie. He has been carving since he was eleven years of age. Ike is committed to preserving his culture, and hopes to pass on his love of carving to his son. He currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

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Jim  Charlie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jim  Charlie Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1967
 

Jim Charlie was born September 10th, 1967 in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a member of the Coast Salish Nation, Squamish Band, Capilano Reservation. This Nation occupies the southern region of the province.

Jim comes from a long line of artists, therefore it was only natural that he begin to carve at a young age. He has been making Northwest Coast Native art for over sixteen years.

Jim is the grandson of Dominique Charlie, who passed on some years ago. Dominique was a highly regarded carver during his time. He educated Jim on the many stories and legends common to the Salish people and inspired him throughout his years of carving.

Jim studied under Phil Janze, a well established Northwest Coast Native artist, in order to become more proficient in achieving greater depth and a different perspective of style.

Jim has been influenced by many well known artists - in particular he cites fellow Salish carvers Floyd Joseph and Jacob Lewis - and strives to achieve the utmost quality in his work. He is a versatile artist who enjoys depicting a variety of legends. His style is refined, uncomplicated, and dimensional, with a northern influence.

Jim is one of many Northwest Coast Native artists who is preserving his cultural background through his artwork for future generations.

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Peter  Charlie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Peter  Charlie Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1957

 

Peter Charlie was born in 1957 on the Capilano Reservation in North Vancouver, British Columbia.  He is a member of the Coast Salish Nation of the Northwest Coast Native people. 

He has been carving since 1976 and his work embodies the traditional motifs and values of the Northwest Coast Native art form.  Peter is a self-taught artist who enjoys passing down the legends and wood carving techniques to a new generation of Coast Salish artists.

 

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Richard  Charlie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Richard  Charlie Salish Ladysmith, BC, CANADA, 1963
 

Richard Charlie was born July 26, 1963 in Ladysmith, British Columbia and is from the Penelakut Band of the Coast Salish Nation.

Under the instruction of Glen Edwards, Richard began carving in the mid-1990’s.  He works in red and yellow cedar, as well as pine, to produce masks, plaques and talking sticks.  Richard especially likes to depict the Salmon in his work.

Richard Charlie lives and works in Ladysmith where he plans to continue carving and expand his skills to include carving jewelry.

 

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Rick Charlie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rick  Charlie Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1960
 

Rick Charlie was born in 1960 into the Squamish tribe of the Coast Salish people at Capilano Reserve in British Columbia, Canada.

Rick has been carving since he was eighteen years of age, inspired by the works of his older brother and teacher, Peter Charlie. Rick’s totem poles, masks, talking sticks and wall plaques reflect an innate carving talent combined with an attention to detail that makes each completed piece a true work of art.

 

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Benjamin  Chee Chee

 

Artist First Nation Born
Benjamin  Chee Chee Temagami Bear Island, ON, CANADA, 1944

 

Benjamin Chee Chee was born into the Temagami Reserve in 1944 on Bear Island, Ontario.

He largely taught himself to draw and paint.  His father died when he was two months old and he lost track of his mother.  One resason behind his drive for success is painting was his ambiton to be reunited with her.

He was a prominent member of the second generation of Woodland Indian Painters - A native movement that began in the early 1960's and has since become one of the important art schools in Canada.  While most of the young Woodland artist followed the style of Norval Morrisseau in depicting myths and legends by "primitive" narrative means, Benjamin pursued a more modern, abstract style using a reduction of line and image.  His painting was influenced by modern abstraction.

During his brief four-year career, Benjamin rose to national prominence with strong and elegant reinterpretations of the structural minimalism common in traditional Ojibwa art.  At the age of 32, he died tragically by committing suicide.

   

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Rande  Cook

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rande  Cook Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1977
 
Rande Cook (Galapa) was born in 1977 in Alert Bay, on the northern end of Vancouver Island. He spent his early years in Alert Bay before moving to Victoria in 1991. His cultural heritage is in the Namgis, Maamtagila and Mamalilikala tribes. His grandparents, Gus and Florence Matilpi, raised him with strong cultural views and ties to this rich heritage. Rande’s grandfather taught him the essential elements of art and impressed upon him how art both reflects and connects to the culture. Rande learned the importance that art holds and how it contributes to maintaining and preserving a flourishing culture. Among his influences Rande credits his brother, Will Cook Jr., William Wasden Jr., Beau Dick, Don Yeomans, Bruce Alfred and, most recently, John Livingston. During his apprenticeship with John, Rande has explored woodcarving, mask making, box design, and numerous other forms of coastal First Nations art. Rande says that from all his mentors he has developed an appreciation for coastal artists and their many variations of style and expression.
 

 

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Walter  Crackle

 

Artist First Nation Born
Walter  Crackle Salish London, ON, CANADA, 1962
 

Walter Crackle was born in London, Ontario on November 19, 1962, and later came to British Columbia to study West Coast art.

He learned the coastal style from renowned carver George Storry, a direct descendant  of the noted Edenshaw Family.  They are perhaps the most well-known and respected group of Haida artists.

Both a painter and carver, Walter is best known for his wooden panels, boxes, and tables.

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Judy  Cranmer

 

Artist First Nation Born
Judy  Cranmer Cree Vanderhoof, BC, CANADA, 1935
 

Judy Cranmer, a member of the Cree Nation, was born in 1935 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Judy has always been intrigued by the traditional designs of Northwest Coast art such as baskets, dance blankets and painted wooden containers.  She studied graphic design and graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1950.  While at the Vancouver School of Art, she associated with master artisans such as Bill Reid. 

As a potter, her formative years were spent with Native artists with whom she developed close personal relationships.  It is apparent in her work that the distinctive design elements of the Northwest Coast represent her extensive knowledge of traditional Native culture.  She has been taught and influenced by many teachers such as Tony Hunt, John Livingston and Doug Cranmer.

Over the years Judy has endeavoured to advance her craft, and adapt the classic elements of formline to her current medium of pottery.
 

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Nelson  Cross

 

Artist First Nation Born
Nelson  Cross Haida Skidegate, BC, CANADA, 1951
 
Nelson Cross is a descendant of a long line of Haida carvers from Skidegate, Haida Gwaii in British Columbia. Nelson’s late grandfather is the renowned John Cross and his father is Raymond Cross, who specialized in carved leather. Nelson’s uncle, Gordon Cross, taught him the art of silver engraving in the early 1970’s. Pat Dixon, the noted Haida Argillite carver, worked with Nelson, explaining design principles and the Haida style. Through Bill Reid, Nelson took a soldering course and helped in the carving of the canoe used for Expo ‘86, held in Vancouver, B. C.
 

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Douglas  David

 

Artist First Nation Born
Douglas  David Nuu-chah-nulth Seattle, WA, USA, 1971
 

Douglas David was born December 11th, 1971 in Seattle, Washington and is the son of world-renowned First Nations artist Joe David.

Doug was exposed to Northwest Coast art at the age of eight, when his parents would take him on summer vacations to British Columbia and his father would teach him his ancestors’ songs, dances and the principles of carving.

Doug’s first pieces were carved in the style of his mother’s Sioux background, but now Doug produces Pacific Northwest styled pieces exclusively influenced by his father, his cousin Art Thompson, and Beau Dick. He began selling his pieces in Seattle but has since travelled to California and Hawaii, even painting Hawaiian drums for Hula schools.

Doug has been producing Northwest Coast pieces since 1995 and now lives in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. He aspires to begin printmaking and carving precious metals. His work is some of the finest available in British Columbia.

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Gilbert  Dawson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Gilbert  Dawson Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1984
Gilbert Dawson is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, whose land has always been on the west side of Vancouver Island and the nearby part of the British Columbia mainland, just north of present-day Vancouver. Gilbert’s mother Marilyn is sister to John Lancaster, an expert jeweler. The tradition of Northwest Coast Native Art was passed on to Gilbert by two well-known artists, Beau Dick and Joe Wilson.

Gilbert carves masks out of red or yellow cedar. In July 2001 he carved masks for a potlatch hosted by James Speck, and danced in the ceremony with those masks. He also carves feasting bowls, which have always been an integral part of Native culture along the coast. Gilbert intends to have a future in mask carving.

Gilbert is very much in tune with his Native heritage. In addition to his participation in potlatch ceremonies, he is seventy-five percent fluent in his Nation’s language and a singer of traditional songs through which the stories and beliefs of the Native peoples have survived.

   

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Danny  Dennis

 

Artist First Nation Born

Danny  Dennis

Gitksan Port Essington, BC, CANADA, 1951
 

A Tsimshian native artist of the Frog/Raven Clan, Danny Dennis was born in 1951 into the Gitksan Village of Kitwanga, British Columbia.

Danny’s art relfects the beauty of his homeland combining his past with his present-day experience. His contribution to the renaissance of Northwest Coast Native Art began with international distribution in 1979.  Danny’s art is exhibited in various museums and galleries in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the United States.

A self-taught artist, Danny cites master artists Francis Williams and Robert Davidson as his influences. Danny carves indigenous materials from west coast ivory and mastodon. His design work is enjoyed by collectors of finely carved gold and silver jewelry. He also produces extraordinary prints and paintings.

A signature of Danny’s style are the flow of his lines, which are expressive of freedom and symbolize the possibilities of a person’s journey.

 

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Rita  Dennis

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rita  Dennis Nuu-chah-nulth Didger's Cove, BC, CANADA, 1945
 
Rita Dennis was born in 1945 in Didger’s Cove on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Rita is a member of the Ohiaht band of the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) Nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast Natives. Rita has been making baskets in the traditional Nootka style since 1980. Using field grasses and cedar bark, Rita creates finely woven baskets as her mother-in-law, Elsie Dennis, taught her. Rita is most proud that the Queen of Sweden has three of her baskets.
 

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Joe  Descoteaux

 

Artist First Nation Born
Joe  Descoteaux Ojibwa Kitchener, ON, CANADA, 1964

Joe Descoteaux was born April 16, 1964 in Kitchener, Ontario, which is an area representative of the Ojibwa Nation. Ten years ago, Joe married into the Wadhams family, a prominent and well-known Kwagiulth family from Alert Bay, off the Eastern coast of  Vancouver Island. As a result, Joe has learned to carve wood, silver, and gold in the Northwest Coast style, specifically Kwagiulth. Joe lists Northwest Coast Kwagiulth artists Lloyd Wadhams Jr., Charles Harper, Don Dawson, Willie and Ray Wadhams and George Matilpi as his teachers. His wife, Cheryl Wadhams, herself an accomplished Northwest Coast Native artist, has greatly inspired Joe’s artwork. Joe began carving wood in early 1990 and then progressed to silversmithing in the fall of that year. Presently, Joe carves on a full-time basis mainly using silver and gold as his mediums.

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Beau  Dick

 

Artist First Nation Born
Beau  Dick Kwakwaka'wakw Kingcome Inlet, BC, CANADA, 1955
 

Beau Dick was born in Kingcome Inlet, November 23, 1955. Kwaguilth by birth, Beau mastered not only the Kwakwaka’wakw style of carving, but also the styles of other Nations and cultures including contemporary art.

Beau is internationally acclaimed both for his personal interpretation of old masterpieces and his own many masterworks, which have been displayed in UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Civilization in Hull, the Vancouver Museum and Stanley Park, where he, with Bill Reid and Werner True, carved one of the eight most photographed totem poles in the world. Over time, his works displayed more of a “distressed” finish, giving them an older look and feel. Beau is also well represented in galleries and private collections around the world, where his masks, raven rattles, talking sticks, and transformation pieces are eagerly sought.

Beau passed away on March 27, 2017. His greatest gifts may prove to be the time he devoted to passing his wealth of skills and knowledge to younger artists, almost all of whom cite him as an important influence, many of the best of whom cite him as honoured mentor.

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Richard  Dicks

 

Artist First Nation Born
Richard  Dicks Nuxalk Bella Coola, BC, CANADA, 1948
 
Richard Dicks was born in 1948 in Bella Coola, British Columbia, Canada, located off the central coast of the province. This area is representative of the Bella Coola Nation. Richard takes the Raven, revered for its heroism, transformational ability and trickery in Northwest Coast myth, as his family crest. Richard has been carving for approximately twenty-five years. He lists the Hunt family as his inspiration to carve in the Kwagiulth style and credits them for teaching him the skills that he uses to this day. Richard specializes in copper bentwood style boxes which reflect the Kwagiulth style of carving. He reveals that his process in achieving such unique items is a simple one; his original designs are hand-tooled, using wood and bone tools, on a wooden frame which he then covers with a copper sheet that he molds to the design. Richard has captured the market with his unique copper boxes. They are found in a variety of sizes and have become, for many, collector's items.
 

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Denny  Dixon

 

Artist First Nation Born
Denny  Dixon Haida Skidegate, BC, CANADA, 1940
 
Denny Dixon was born in 1940 in the village of Skidegate in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia. Denny is a member of the Haida Nation and takes the Eagle as his family crest. Denny spent his early childhood in port Alberni and his teens in Prince Rupert. In 1969, Denny moved to Vancouver to join his older brother, Pat Dixon, and fellow carver Pat McGuire. Together, these two men guided Denny’s progress. Denny works exclusively in Argillite and has over the years produced many model poles, pendants and broaches for Argillite collectors around the world.
 

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Pat  Dixon

 

Artist First Nation Born
Pat  Dixon Haida Skidegate, BC, CANADA, 1966
 
Haida carver Pat Dixon was born on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in the village of Skidegate, British Columbia. He moved to Vancouver in 1966 where he established a working relationship with fellow Haida carver Pat McGuire. Pat credits the positive effects of Bill Holm’s book “Northwest Coast Indian Art” on his understanding of flat design. Pat Dixon works exclusively in Argillite and has over the years produced many model poles, pendants, and broaches for avid Argillite collectors.

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Gerry  Dudoward

 

Artist First Nation Born
Gerry  Dudoward Tsimishian Port Simpson, BC, CANADA, 1950
 
Gerry Dudoward was born into the Tsimshian Nation in 1950, in Port Simpson, British Columbia. Gerry started to carve as a child after spending many hours watching his granduncle, William Jeffrey, carve. Later, after trying his hand at commercial fishing, Gerry moved to Vancouver in 1975 where he had the opportunity to work with Alfred Robertson, Norman Tait and Pat Dixon. Gerry is very aware of his native culture and identity and hopes that, through his artwork, he is able to pass on this heritage. Gerry’s attention to detail, the depth of his cuts, and the flow of his lines give a sense of strength and power to his pieces, which can be found in galleries all along the coast.

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Effie (Lo) Durocher

 

Artist First Nation Born

Effie (Lo) Durocher

Nuu-chah-nulth Victoria, BC, CANADA, 1956
 

Effie Durocher was born into the Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) Nation in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, on March 11, 1956.  She belongs to the Wolf and Killer Whale clan of her people.  These two "family crest" figures were talented hunters and considered to be the same spirit, but one on land and the other undersea.

As a child, she began watching and learning as her great grandmother, Mary Chester, sat carving cedar when she was just six.  Since then, she has practiced her art with her grandmother Helen Thompson and mother Flora Edgar.

Today, Effie (Lo) applies her polished style to traditional subjects as well as new creations, such as cedar bark earrings.

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Jim  Edenshaw

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jim  Edenshaw Haida Queen Charlotte City, BC, CANADA, 1955
 
Jim was born in Masset on the northern part of Haida Gwaii. He is of the Raven clan of the Haida Nation, born of the Gakyaals Kiiqawaay Skedans Ravens like his mother. His father, Chiits Gitnaii, is an Eagle from the Yakoun River.
 
He is best known for his work in gold, which he views as an incorruptible medium to preserve the power of his cultural legacy.
 
Elders played an important role in Jim’s growth and understanding of the world. It was through this engagement with their wisdom and the old ways that Jim undertook journeys around the Islands by row-boat and canoes, often in the accompaniment of his brother, Guujaaw. He knows the ways of the Islands as well as anyone.
 
Today, Jim continues to balance carving with his many other roles which include political activist, teacher, historian and performer.

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Jonathan  Edwards

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jonathan  Edwards Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1979
 

Jonathan Edwards was born in 1979 in North Vancouver, British Columbia, and is a part of the Coast Salish Nation.

He apprenticed under his uncles Jim, Peter, and Steven Charlie, all of whom are accomplished wood carvers from North Vancouver.

Jonathan works with red and yellow cedar to produce large plaques.  He finds inspiration in studying the work of master carvers such as Dempsey Bob, Robert Davidson, and the late Bill Reid. Jonathan tells us, "Carving has helped provide me with an understanding of Native culture in which I hope to share. I feel a great deal of satisfaction knowing I am keeping a part of my culture alive."

 

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Mike  Epp

 

Artist First Nation Born
Mike  Epp Tsimishian Matlakatla, BC, CANADA, 1962
 
Mike Epp, a Coast Tsimshian artist, was born in 1962 in Matlakatla in British Columbia, Canada. Mike is a member of the Gitksan tribe and his matrilineal clan is that of the Raven. Mike is very aware of his native culture and identity and hopes that through his artwork, he is able to help preserve and pass on this heritage. Mike lists Francis Horne, a master Northwest Coast Native artist, as his main teacher and Charles Edenshaw as his main inspiration. Mike prefers to work in wood creating superb totems, masks, boxes, plaques and figurines.
 
 

     

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Lorne Fineday

 

Artist First Nation Born

Lorne  Fineday

Cree

North Battleford, SK, CANADA, 1951

 
 
Lorne Fineday was born in 1951 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.  Lorne is a member of the Cree Nation who began carving in soapstone in 1988 and later progressed to alabaster while living in Colorado. His innate skills have been enhanced by contact with other artists, including Lloyd Pinay, with whom he took an ice and snow carving course in 1994. Lorne has since spent the last several years travelling throughout North America honing his craft.  Lorne’s determination and natural carving skills has paid off as his works, depicting traditional Cree legends and beliefs, can be found in major galleries throughout Canada and the United States.
 

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Carmen (Tlaagjang Nung Kingaass) Goertzen

 

Artist First Nation Born

Carmen (Tlaagjang Nung Kingaass) Goertzen

Salish

Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1963

 
 

Carmen Goertzen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in June of 1963. Carmen was educated on Massett, Haida Gwaii. Since the age of eleven, carving has been his main interest, after being taught to make tools by Robert Davidson, an internationally acclaimed Northwest Coast Native artist. Carmen expressed himself through art, photography, and silk-screening. In 1987, Carmen began carving on a serious note using wood, stone, and metal, with a particular emphasis on carving in gold, silver, and Argillite. In 1991, he was named hereditary chief of Dadens, Haida Gwaii.

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Dale T. Gonzales

 

Artist First Nation Born

Dale T. Gonzales

Salish

Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1981

 
 

Born May 31, 1981, a Vancouver native of the Squamish nation, Dale took to carving naturally at age 11, following the example of his father, Gareth Gonzales.

Dale has also studied under renowned carvers Al Natral, Wes Nahanee, Neil and Shawn Baker, and the great Floyd Joseph.

Today, he skillfully carves red and yellow cedar plaques, often depicting his family crests: wolf, bear, and eagle.  He helped to carve a 38 foot totem pole in early 1999, which now stands near Highway #99 in Squamish.  Dale is broadening his scope to also carve soapstone.

 

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Philip Gray

 

Artist First Nation Born
Philip  Gray
Tsimishian
Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1983
 

Born in Vancouver in 1983, Philip Gray is a young and talented Native woodcarver.  He belongs to the Killer Whale Clan of the Tsimshian people and is also part Cree.  The Cree Nations were the nomadic hunters of the interior plains which we know today as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the American mid-West. However, in the early 18th century, some Cree began to migrate over the Rocky Mountains.  Today their descendants still live in the Northeast corner of British Columbia, between Prince George and Fort Nelson.  Tsimshian means "going into the river of mists", a reference to the Skeena River which runs through their traditional territories before emptying into the Pacific near Prince Rupert, on British Columbia’s Northern Coast.  Even before learning to carve, Philip actively celebrated his heritage dancing, drumming and singing with a Tsimshian group.

Inspired by great Northwest coast carvers like David Boxly, Philip began his career as an artist in 1999 under the tutelage of Michael Dangeli.  He has already carved one totem pole and produces handsome masks. With plans to excel in his art, Philip keeps challenging himself to progress as an artist with each new piece. He is one of many Northwest Coast Native artists keeping the traditions of his ancestors alive for future generations.

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Stan Greene

 

Artist First Nation Born
Stan  Greene
Salish
             1953              
 

“People’s eyes are opening up now and they’re interested in Salish art”, points out Stan Greene, who plays a major role in Salish art today. Stan carves, works in watercolours and  silkscreen prints, and has lately become a very respected Powwow dancer.

In 1978, at the age of twenty-five, he produced his first Salish prints.  These prints were inspired by carved circular spindle whorls, and he actively began  a revival of his forefathers’ heritage. Today, Stan is regarded as one of the most learned Salish artists on the coast, and he has inspired a new generation of artists, who regard him as an honoured elder.

With the overwhelming influence of European culture in the Fraser Valley, B.C., and privacy issues among various Nations, this prevented the Northern tribes from sharing their art with the Salish Native people.  While at ‘Ksan, Stan recalls, “The wood carvers in the North thought it was funny that I wanted to carve. They laughed and said the Salish people did not know how to carve.”  Nevertheless, in 1975, Stan spent six months learning from Northern carvers living near Hazelton.  Eventually his former hobby has become his profession.  “I always wanted to do Salish carving,” he explains, “but there was no market until I started to do the spindle whorl designs”.  Salish representation is more lifelike and realistic than more Northern traditions.

 

Greene now lives with his wife and three daughters in the Central Fraser Valley where he plans “to try to bring out the Salish the way it was”.

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Tony Gulbrandsen

 

Artist First Nation Born
Tony Gulbrandsen
Tsimishian
Port Simpson, BC, CANADA, 1962
 
 
Tony Gulbrandsen was born in Port Simpson, near Prince Rupert, B.C. He is a member of the Tsimshian Nation and takes the Killer Whale as his family crest.  Tony began carving in 1986 under Randy Ackity and has shown amazing progress with each passing year. Tony, like many Northwest Coast artists, is well-versed in all Northwest Coast styles but usually carves Tsimshian, which he admires for its cultural relevance, or Kwaguilth, which he likes for its dramatic possibilities.
 

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Steve Lawrence Hansen

 

Artist First Nation Born
Steve Lawrence Hansen
Nisga'a
Prince Rupert, BC, CANADA, 1971 
 

Steve Lawrence Hansen was born on May 16, 1971 in Prince Rupert, where he spent most of his life on British Columbia’s far North Coast.  Today he lives in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver.  Steve belongs to the Nisga’a First Nation - British Columbia’s most Northern Group of Coastal Native peoples. Their traditional territory is just North of Prince Rupert, begins at the mouth of the Nass River which meets the Pacific South of the Tlingit peoples of the Alaskan Panhandle.  They call the Nass Ayns Lisims, the “river of milk”. It becomes white from the annual milt of spawning eulachon fish, mixing with the pure glacial melt in the narrow canyon rapids. Eulachon oil, used for both food and fuel, was one of the Northwest coast’s most valuable resources. Known as both gracious hosts to traders and fearsome warriors to invaders, the Nisga’a’s history is as rich and splendid as their artistic traditions.  Steve is descended from the Gitakdanix, “the people of the ponds”, a band of Nisga’a whose homelands in the Nass Valley are about 30 miles up river from the coast.  Eagle is his Gitakdanix family crest.  Their territory includes the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Park, a site where two entire villages were destroyed by a volcano in the late eighteenth century.  Legend has it that this was a punishment inflicted on the people by spirits, angry that children had amused themselves by sticking smouldering bark into the backs of spawning salmon.

 

Steve began Native art over six years ago, taught by George McKay and Ron Teleck.  A great admirer of European Masters like Rembrant and Michaelangelo, Steve draws from more than just his Native heritage for inspiration.  When not working on his art, Steve practices many Martial Arts, including Kendo, Tai Chi, and the Japanese sword-fighting studies of “the creating of Mushashi”.  Through this training, Steve developed the discipline and focus he uses to patiently produce each piece of art.  His favourite mediums are pencil and acrylic, with which he renders beautiful portraits and landscapes.  Steve’s future aspirations as an artist focus on opening the past to his children while remaining healthy and productive.

 

“I have found the true artist in the world of First Nations is Nature itself.  It has been said that clean straight lines are of great importance, a balance of these will spawn life in the image transformed from mind to medium.  This order can be seen in all aspects of existence.”

- Steve Lawrence Hansen, 2001.

 

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Charles Harper

 

Artist First Nation Born
Charles  Harper
Carrier
Prince George, BC, CANADA, 1955
 

Charles Harper was born in 1955 in Prince George, British Columbia. Charles is a member of the Carrier Nation, a tribe situated in the north-central region of British Columbia. The Carrier Nation was formed by a group of widows who carried the remains of their deceased husbands for luck and protection.

 

Charles takes the Wolf, revered for its skill as a powerful hunter, and the Frog, representing luck, prosperity and stability, as his family crests. Charles is the middle child of three brothers, all of which are well known West Coast artists. Charles is recognized for both his wood and metal carvings, particularly plaques both painted and unpainted, concentrating on birds and fish. Learning to carve wood as a young boy, Charles later devoted himself to engraving metal. Charles began a lengthy apprentice in 1980 under Kwakiutl carvers Lloyd Wadhams and Alfred Seaweed of Alert Bay, B.C.  Charles’ work is best characterized by intricate designs with special attention to detail.

 

At present, Charles lives and works in Vancouver, where he enjoys a positive response from both major Native art galleries and the buying public. In addition, Charles teaches a number of young Carrier carvers in an attempt to both preserve and pass on the heritage of his peoples.

 

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Glen Harper

 

Artist First Nation Born
Glen  Harper
Carrier
Prince George, BC, CANADA, 1964
 

Glen Harper was born June 23rd, 1964, in Prince George, British Columbia. He is a member of the Carrier Nation, a tribe located in the interior of the province. It was formed by a group of women who carried remains of their deceased spouses at all times for luck and protection. They are now known as the Dakelh Nation.

 

Glen takes the Wolf, revered for its skill as a powerful hunter, and the Frog, representing luck, prosperity, and stability, as his main family crests. Glen lists such prominent Northwest Coast Native artists as Charles Harper, Doug Harper, and Lloyd Wadhams as his teachers. He reveals that both Charles’ and Doug’s carving style greatly influenced his own. 

 

Glen carves cedar and pine plaques that can be recognized by their graceful lines with somber paint tones and dark walnut stain. His work is polished and refined.

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Les Harper

 

Artist First Nation Born
Les  Harper
Carrier
Vanderhoof, BC, CANADA, 1969
 

Les Harper was born in Vanderhoof, British Columbia as a member of the Dakelh (previously known as Carrier) Nation. This small cultural group is located in the northern coastal region of B.C.  The Dakelh Nation was formed by a band of women who carried the remains of their deceased spouses with them at all times for luck and protection.

 

The predominant crest figure of the Harper family is the Frog, which represents luck, prosperity, and stability. Les began to carve in cedar at a very young age under the guidance of his uncles, Doug, Charlie and Glen Harper, all noted Native carvers. Les’ pieces look modern and refined, with fluid lines and strong colours precisely painted and highly polished.

 

                   

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Quentin Harris

 

Artist First Nation Born
Quentin  Harris
  1972
 

Quentin Harris was born on December 14, 1972.  He grew up in Maple Ridge, British Columbia and continues to live there with his wife, Ann Marie, and two children.  Quentin has spent nearly two decades creating Northwest Coast Native art, and has increasingly become known to collectors around the world.

 

Currently, Quentin teaches Aboriginal Arts and Culture for School District 42 in Maple Ridge. Quentin encourages children with their artistic endeavours and teaches them through the traditional art of storytelling. His humble spirit combined with his humour and peaceful demeanour creates a special bond with children and adults alike. This has led to Quentin leading various projects beyond the classroom and into the community. These projects have included the designing and carving of six totem poles, and three large carved murals on permanent display for generations to come. 

 

“Long ago, native people lived in accordance with nature; their art was inspired by nature. The relationship between nature and people held no distinction, for each was part of the other, and all parts were sacred. Being an artist has made me realize that I’m rooted within this relationship. Perfect peace (nothing missing, nothing broken) doesn’t come from extracting, conquering, or bending nature to my will, but rather being eternally grateful to an eternal Creator, who has so graciously provided me the skills, opportunity and livelihood to express my culture.” 

- Quentin Harris

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Sylvan Ambrose Hart

 

Artist First Nation Born
Sylvan Ambrose Hart
Tlingit
Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1950
 
 

Sylvan Hart was born in Vancouver, B.C. to an English mother and an Alaskan Tlingit father. His father, Sandy Hammond, was the son of Helen Hammond from Carcross Yukon of the Dalk’aweidi Wolf clan. Sylvan was extremely proud of his Tlingit heritage.

Out of boredom one day in his early thirties, Sylvan decided to try his hand at wood carving and found, to his surprise, an inherent talent very close to the surface. Primarily self-taught, Sylvan studied the work of past and present Native artists which he found in museums, galleries and books. He was especially taken with the work of Haida elder Charles Edenshaw and Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob.

In his new role as artist, he legally changed his name to Sylvan Ambrose Hart in 1982. Friends and benefactors who saw and wanted his original paintings made it possible for Sylvan to produce his work in limited-edition prints. Sylvan’s prints are displayed in homes as far away as France and California. The rare ability to transform what was imagined into a visible image was intrinsic, but the mastery of his craft was the life long goal that Sylvan was constantly developing.

Sylvan lost his mother when he was only five years old and the loss affected his life profoundly. His unusual personality type caused him to be extremely idealistic and caused him frequent disappointment in his search for self. He felt to have the same meaning as others and to share a faceless identity was not to “be” at all. His art filled his need to be unique and held deep significance for him; it defined who he was.

Sylvan had a life long battle with alcoholism which first became apparent at the age of ten. Sylvan lost his battle and died while drunk on September 17, 1998 at the age of forty-nine.

Compiled by Betty Ettel

Abbortsford, BC

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Oliver Haskell

 

Artist First Nation Born
Oliver  Haskell
Carrier
Vanderhoof, BC, CANADA, 1971
 

Oliver Haskell was born on December 4, 1971 in Vanderhoof, a town that lies just outside of Prince George, in North Central British Columbia.  He’s a member of the Carrier Nation that includes Vanderhoof within its traditional territory. This nation was named after an old custom of widowed women who carried the cremated remains of their deceased spouses in a small pouch for a year, after which she would formally inherit her husband’s title and territories. The Carrier speak Dakelh, which means "people who travel on the water".  This refers to the thousands of lakes which cover their landscape.  Oliver inherited the Frog and Bear crest from his family, the Tl’azt’en "people at the edge of the bay" band of Carrier, who come from the heart of this lake littered region.

 

Oliver now lives in the Salish community of Musquweam located in Southern Vancouver.  As an artist he is mostly self-taught.  Oliver began carving in 1997 and has progressed quickly, specializing in Raven masks, and becoming one of many Northwest Coast Native artists who keep their traditions alive.

 

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Derek Heaton

 

Artist First Nation Born
Derek  Heaton
Mi'kmaq
1970
 

 

Derek was born in 1970 on Canada’s east coast into the Micmac Nation. Derek was adopted by a Norwegian mother and a Canadian father.

 

Derek claims to have been very creative from childhood however, for some years, he suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. He came out of that time with a return to art and a strong conection to his traditional roots.

 

His stylistic influences include northwest coast artist Willie Seaweed, who was a Kwakwaka’wakw master carver. The Seaweed family has now allowed Derek to learn from the work that Willie left behind after his death in 1967.

 

Derek carves in wood, and is on a continuous path of self discovery and reconnection to his traditional roots.

 

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Graham Henry

 

Artist First Nation Born
Graham  Henry
Salish
Duncan, BC, CANADA, 1970
 
Graham Henry was born August 14, 1970 in Duncan, British Columbia. This area is representative of the Coast Salish Nation, a tribe that inhabits the southern region of British Columbia. Graham takes the Eagle, a prestigious and high status symbol, as his family crest. He has only been carving jewelry for a short time, yet has an intricate carving style. Graham reveals that his brother, Travis Henry, a well known Northwest Coast jewelry carver, was his main teacher. He apprenticed under Patrick Seaweed, a well regarded carver from Alert Bay, Vancouver Island, for two years. His carving style was greatly influenced by Patrick’s style and form. Graham is one of many Northwest Coast Native artists preserving the traditions of his ancestors.
 

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Errol Hillis

 

Artist First Nation Born
Errol  Hillis
Gitxsan
Kispiox Reserve, AK, USA
 

Errol Hillis is from the Kispiox reserve of the Gitxsan Nation. About 50 miles inland from the south tip of the Alaskan Pan-handle, the Gitxsan’s traditional territory along the upper banks of the Skeena or Xsan, “the river of mists” is a unique nexus between British Columbia’s coast, interior, and north. This location not only made Gitxsan country an important center for trade and cross-cultural exchange among B.C.’s First Nations for thousands of years; it also isolated them from colonial Europeans until late 1860’s. Buffered by the nations around them, the Gitxsan had been receiving blankets, cast iron pots, and guns in trade for more than half a century, with little need to come face to face with the “ghost men” they had heard so much about.  Errol’s home is the farthest north of modern Gitxsan communities, where the Kispiox River enters the Skeena and pavement becomes logging road.  Until the arrival of missionaries, his ancestors knew themselves as the people of Anapayaxw, “the hiding place”, but they were renamed Kispiox, “loud talkers”, by the Department of Indian Affairs.  They were, according to the government’s Indian agent, the “head-centre of disaffection,” rejecting telegraphs, reserves, wagon roads, fishing restrictions, and logging.

 

Errol began to develop his skills and talents as an artist and carver in 1986.  His curiosity and admiration for west coast art led him to seek the training and guidance of such master carvers as Walter Harris, Roy Hanuse, and Clarence Wells.

In the past few years Errol realized that his vivid imagination is a gift carried, not owned.  He feels he must always be learning to retain his artistic inspiration; while carving or painting, his mind, body, and spirit remain connected to the project at hand.  His emotions are heightened with excitement as the finished product comes to life.  Errol always completes the eyes of his subjects last to best express the character and life of the spirit within the art.  He feels each carving or painting has a spirit that wants to be expressed individually.  For Errol, practicing his art is a spiritual experience which offers him profound healing and an awareness of living in harmony with nature.

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Douglas Horne

 

Artist First Nation Born
Douglas  Horne
Salish
Victoria, BC, CANADA
 

Doug was born January 11, 1982 in Victoria, BC. He is of the Coast Salish Nation, and comes from a large family of famous carvers. It comes as no surprise that Doug has been involved in carving his whole life and has been making significant pieces for the past several years. Doug studied primarily under his father, the accomplished totem pole carver Doug LaFortune, working with him on a number of public pieces, notably the superb 30-foot pole they carved for the Butchart Gardens outside of Victoria. Doug has since concentrated primarily on totem poles himself, and has a number of pieces in private collections around the world.

 

Doug’s favorite medium is red cedar, which was the most important material in northwest coastal culture.  It provided the Coastal Nations with housing, heat, clothing, transportation, artwork, tools, and many other invaluable technologies necessary towards maintaining their civilization.

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Terry Horne

 

Artist First Nation Born
Terry  Horne
Salish
Chilliwack, BC, CANADA, 1982
 

Terry Horne was born on January 18th, 1982 in Chilliwack, near Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a member of the Coast Salish Nation and his predominant crest figure is the Sisiutl- Double Headed Sea Serpent. Being from a long line of family carvers and artisans, he has always been immersed in his artistic heritage.

 

His father, master carver Francis Horne Sr., and brother, Francis Horne Jr., have acted as his primary mentors, instilling cultural heritage, traditions, and artistic understanding. At the tender age of 16, Terry began introducing his work publicly and has since emerged to exhibit in various galleries. In October 2005, Terry carved alongside his well known uncle Doug LaFortune, creating a 30 foot Totem Pole for the Centennial Anniversary of Butchard Gardens. This monumental pole brings back the Native element, using the spiritual cedar tree to reinstate First Nation cultural heritage and tradition.

               

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Francis  Horne Jr.

 

Artist First Nation Born
Francis  Horne Jr.
Salish
Chilliwack, BC, CANADA, 1975
 

Francis Horne Jr. was born in 1975 in Chilliwack, British Columbia.  He is a member of the Salish Nation, a tribe that inhabits the southern region of Vancouver’s lower mainland, and has the rights to use a number of crests. Coming from a family of carvers and artists, Francis Jr.’s upbringing  was immersed in the culture of his people. 

 

Francis became involved in making Native art in 1987. He apprenticed with his father, Francis Horne Sr., an internationally renowned Northwest Coast Native artist.  His father’s impeccable attention to small details and intricate carving style is clearly evident in his son’s work and, like his father, Francis mostly carves in the Northern style, although he is also proficient in the Southern style of the Coast Salish.

 

Francis has been displaying his work publicly since his early teens and he is currently represented in a number of galleries in Vancouver and Seattle. Francis has been teaching a carving class at a High School in Chilliwack for several years, a responsibilty he views as part of a commitment to the future of the artform.

     

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Francis  Horne Sr.

 

Artist First Nation Born
Francis  Horne Sr.
Salish
Mt. Vernon, WA, USA, 1954
 
 

Francis Horne Sr. is one of the most talented and respected artists of his generation. Born in 1954 in Mt. Vernon, Washington, he is a Coast Salish Native artist currently residing in Chilliwack, about 100 kilometres from Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Francis began carving in wood in 1974, fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a “Native Carver”.  Growing up, Francis learned from his elders the traditions of Salish woodcarving. In the great Longhouses, he heard the songs, watched the dances of his people, and grew to understand the beauty and power of his Native roots. 

 

Beginning in 1979, when he had a totem sent to Italy, international art collectors and governments have been commissioning Francis’ totem poles, making him one of the most sought after totem pole carvers in the world. In 1986 he had 4 poles made for the City of Totems in Duncan, B.C., and in 1987 he created a carving for Harbour Square Mall in Victoria, BC. In 1991 he was commissioned to raise a Totem Pole in front of The Children’s Zoo in Stanley Park in honour of the 64th Annual Variety Clubs International Convention.  Also in 1991 he helped his brothers, internationally renowned carver Doug LaFortune and Aubrey LaFortune, to carve a Totem Pole for the city of Ohtaki, Japan. In 1998, one of Francis’ Totem Poles was purchased for the Canadian Embassy in Brazil. 

     

Francis has made a personal commitment to share his heritage and culture. In 1976 he taught at the Coqualeetza Educational Training Centre and in1988 he was invited to Singapore to demonstrate Totem Pole carving.  Francis’ skills have also been passed down to his children who themselves are becoming recognized for their skills as artists. Francis has achieved his ambition of receiving International attention as well as passing his learning on to the next generation of artists.

        

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Ben Houstie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ben  Houstie
Kwakwaka'wakw
Bella Bella, BC, CANADA, 1960
 

Ben Houstie was born November 20, 1960 in Bella Bella, British Columbia. This area is representative of the Heiltsuk Nation. His uncle is Gordon Gladstone and great-great-grandfather is Daniel Houstie.

 

Ben specializes in original paintings, limited edition prints, rattles and some jewelry. He uses such mediums as paper, wood, deer hide and silver. Ben has worked with Cheryl Hall, Robert Hall, David Gladstone and Beau Dick. In 1988, Ben apprenticed under Bill Reid, the father of Northwest Coast art of the twentieth century, painting several drums of Bill’s design and twenty paddles for the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. These paddles were to accompany the fiberglass replicas of “Lootaas”, the fifty foot Haida canoe carved by Bill Reid in 1986. 

 

Ben sold his first painting in 1977 and produced his first limited edition prints in 1987. In May 1987, Ben’s painting was selected for the Icpher Cahper World Conference held at the University of British Columbia. Presently, Ben resides in Vancouver and continues to make original paintings and limited edition prints.

 

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Stanly Clifford Hunt

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Stanly Clifford Hunt Kwagiulth Fort Rupert, BC, Canada

Stanly Clifford Hunt is a Kwagiulth artist from Fort Rupert, near Port Hardy on Vancouver Island. His Grandfather Mungo Martin, his father Henry Hunt and his brothers Richard and Tony Hunt Sr. are all artists of international stature. Mungo Martin adopted Stan’s mother Helen Nelson who was later married by Stan’s father Henry Hunt.

 

When Stan was ten he was initiated in the Hamatsa Society and danced in the cedar bark ceremony for the first time. In his early career as a carver, Stan worked with his father every day for 13 years. He heard all the old stories in the course of carving as many as 6 totem poles at the Royal Museum. He learned to carve as his father’s apprentice. Stan signs his work Stanley Clifford Hunt to avoid confusion with other “Stan Hunts” also carvers who are distantly related, but carve in a different style.

He was born September 25th 1954 while his father was carving for the Royal Museum of British Columbia in Victoria. Stan was the first in the family to be born in Victoria (others were born at home, Port Hardy or at Alert Bay). The youngest of 6 boys, he has four older sisters, four younger sisters, a total of 14 siblings, twelve of whom are currently living. Stan attended Grade School and High School in Victoria. He played rugby, football, and track, and his 4 x 100 relay team held the Canadian Record. While in 10th grade he became the first Canadian boy to jump in excess of 40 feet. Stan shattered his left ankle playing baseball and had to stop sports activities.

Stan married in the 11th grade. His son Jason was born in the first year of marriage and his son Trevor arrived a year and a half later. During this marriage of 10 years, he held a variety of positions. Stan worked at the Empress Hotel, as a tool & dye apprentice, fork-lift operator in a pulp mill, in elevator maintenance, and had is own company, painting and hanging wall paper.

 

In 1976, four years before his father left the Provincial museum, Stan asked his father if he could be a carver. Henry replied, “The first thing you have to do is make your own tools.” With his fathers approval, he made double-edged straight and curved knives, single-edged lightly curved, straight, and plain knives, including a lipped-adze ­ for cross grain cutting ­ straight heavy adze (made from ball bearing casing and leaf spring steel), and finishing knives. Elbow handles were hewn from the branch of a maple or yew tree. Each knife is made with a specific use in mind.

 

With proper tools, Stan spent the next three years learning knife, carving, and painting techniques working in his brother, Tony’s Victoria Gallery, Arts of the Raven. He earned $125 a week for a minimum of one 9 -inch mask per week and extra spending money for bowls and other carvings which were sold to tourists in the museum shop.

It can be dangerous to cut and fell a tree. Accordingly, wood is sourced from the logging company. Trees can be requested from the timber company if submitted in writing and approved by the chief for delivery. Stan can request trees that are perfectly round, with tight grain, limited knots, length up to 40 feet, delivered to his yard. Chain saws are used for cutting mask size slices from the log. Adz cuts do all the shaping and smaller knives are for detail and finish. 600/1000 emery paper is used for edge sharpening. The last features added to any carving include the hands, feet, teeth, toes and claws. Better carvings require more time spent on detail and finish.

Stan is a committed artist. He has worked steadily on his art since 1988. He carves solely in the Kwagiulth style that he learned from his father and brothers. His masks, totem poles and graphic original paintings are collected for their craftsmanship and authenticity. Stan’s work can be found in museums and private collections around the world. Hill’s Native Art is proud to make available and to represent the inimitable carving of Stanley Clifford Hunt.

     

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Eugene Isaac

 

Artist First Nation Born
Eugene  Isaac Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1958
 

Eugene Isaac was born on March 22, 1958, in Alert Bay - part of the Kwakiutl, or “Kwakwaka’wakw”, Nations of the northeast coast of Vancouver island and the adjacent mainland.  He inherited the family crests of Thunderbird, Sisiutl (double headed sea serpent), and Hok-hok (a long beaked bird monster who is part of the great household in the sky ruled by the chief cannibal spirit).

At 15, Eugene had the opportunity to study under the master Kwakiutl carver Beau Dick, who taught art at the Alert Bay High School.  Much later, he took a carving course in 1994 taught by Wayne Alfred, another renowned Kwakiutl artist.

Today, Eugene’s polished Kwakiutl style brings to life the heritage of a rich culture of the most elaborate potlatch ceremonies of the Pacific northwest - not only to cedar, but also to leather canvas and acrylics.  Eugene worked on three exhibits for Expo ’86 and on a pole in Stanley Park.

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Archie Ishulutak

 

Artist First Nation Born
Archie  Ishulutak Inuit Pangnirtung, NU, CANADA
 

Archie Ishulutak was born in Pangnirtung, an Inuit hamlet in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, located on Baffin Island. He is related to Elisapee Isulutak and to Jaco and Lassaloosie Isulutak who are Elisapee's sons and well known Pangnirtung sculptors.  He is also related to the late Jamesee as well as the late Pauloosie, Tomasie and Willie Ishulutak.

 

Archie's family background of artists has given him the experience of watching and learning from his relations from an early age. Archie has lived most of his life on the land and is an excellent hunter; he is also an excellent carpenter but he has decided to carve on a full-time basis. He has been carving for over 25 years.

 

His sculptures depict the traditional life style of the Inuit.  He has his own original, innovative and creative designs and style in his artwork.  Many of his sculptures are multiple images on one piece of stone or bone depicting the various aspects of living on the land.  He is an expert and skillful carver in whalebone, antler, ivory and stone. The size of his work varies but on occasions he will carve a large sculpture from either whalebone or stone. His work has a distinctive mark of its own.

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Noah Jaw

Artist First Nation Born
Noah  Jaw Inuit Cape Dorset, NU, CANADA, 1976
 
 

Noah Jaw was born in 1976 and is one of the most talented carvers on Baffin Island. Noah was born into a family of carvers in Cape Dorset.  His father, Matthew Jaw, and his uncle, Pootoogook Jaw, have been influential in developing his carving skills.

 

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Curtis Miller Joe

 

Artist First Nation Born
Curtis Miller Joe Salish Shishalh, BC, CANADA,1960
 

Curtis was born December 28, 1960, in Shishalh (Sechelt), British Columbia, and is a member of the Coast Salish Nation. He began carving in 1988 with his cousin, Sid Lamarche, a highly regarded artist from the Bella Coola Nation. Curtis also cites Kevin Cranmer (Kwagiulth Nation) as a teacher. Curtis, too, carves in the traditional Kwagiulth style. His work displays a fierce pride informed by the deeply spiritual value system that Curtis brings to all his mediums: carving, painting, drum and dance.

 

Curtis has been receiving public commissions for several years now, most recently at the Deltaview Secondary School in Delta, where, as is typical of him, he was able to convince a number of the youths at the school to assist him in completing a large welcome panel. Curtis was also the resident carver at Hill’s Native Art from 2002 to 2007, where he met and inspired a great number of both international and local visitors. 

 

A world class Powwow dancer, Curtis spends the summers competing throughout North America and the winters working with youth at risk and as a family counselor. The richness of his cultural heritage informs both these devotions, and is further enhanced by his artwork. Curtis has also studied old box designs and has begun carving jewellery in gold and silver. 

 

          

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Maynard Johnny Jr.

 

Artist First Nation Born
Maynard  Johnny Jr. Kwakwaka'wakw Campbell River, BC, CANADA,1973
 

Maynard Johnny Jr. was born April 4th, 1973 in Campbell River, B.C. He is of Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish Descent, inheriting a unique blend of cultures and traditions. Having lived in both Canada and the United States, Maynard has been educated in the native cultures of both countries. 

 

Maynard began drawing at the age of six, and began serious studies in Northwest Coast design at age seventeen.  Since then, Maynard has won a number of logo and art competitions. His blending of the Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw art forms has resulted in a unique and contemporary vision of many of the traditional legends. Maynard tries to incorporate those legends with each piece that he does and, in the telling of the story, he continues a long tradition that enhances his artwork and authenticates his interpretation of the designs.

 

Maynard’s work continues to offer this unique blend of colour, design, culture and legend, which he hopes people will enjoy for many years.

        

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Julie Johnson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Julie  Johnson Nuu-chah-nulth 1928
 

Julie Johnson was born in April 1928, and has been weaving baskets ever since she can remember. It was her mother and aunt who first discovered her gift and, together, they trained her in the art of patience, so necessary to the art of weaving.

 

Julie’s work is recognized for its attention to detail and superb craftsmanship. She gathers her own sea grass and cedar bark and often creates her own dyes, taking after her famous grandmother, Mary Tait.

 

She lives in Deep Bay, British Columbia and is a member of the Nitinat Nation.  The Killer Whale is her family crest, which she often weaves into the baskets she creates.  As time goes by, her work serves to bridge both generations and cultures, and her fondest hope is that we appreciate what each has to offer.

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Brad Joseph

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Brad  Joseph Salish Squamish, BC, CANADA, 1959
 
Brad Joseph was born in 1959 in Squamish, British Columbia. A member of the Coast Salish Nation, Brad is one of eight brothers who carves cedar wood on a full-time basis. Brad became involved in making native art over 40 years ago with the influence of his older brothers’ teachings. His artwork reflects the traditional motifs and carving style of his people. Presently, Brad continues to carve such items as totem poles, two-dimensional plaques and three-dimensional sculptures.
 

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Charles Joseph

 

Artist First Nation Born
Charles  Joseph Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1959
 

I, Charles Joseph, better known as Boone, would like to enlighten you with some facts about my life. I was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, but raised by my great-grandparents, Charles and Minnie Dick, in the village of Turnour Island. Along with these two people, my  father was also a big part of my childhood. This is where the knowledge of native art, speaking the native language and performing the dances originated from.

 

I moved back to Alert Bay for school. I then started carving with my grandfather, Harry Joseph, my cousin Roy Speck and my cousin Joe Peters. I also carved with my stepfather Gordon Twance Sr., my friends Terry Isaac and Simon Dick, as well as many others. Up to this point, I regarded carving as just a hobby.

 

Special thanks to the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Council for the course for native carvers that allowed me to learn from and be inspired by master carvers Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick. A very special thanks to Beau Dick. To this day Beau greatly inspires and helps me with his carving.

 

The potlatches that I have held, witnessed, and partaken in have helped me carry on with carving. My fellow carvers, Tim Alfred and Dallas Hunt deserve thanks for their encouragement. And I would like to thank  the Cedar Trees for the wood and bark that they provide me to fulfill my ambition.

 

Charles was born into the Kwaguilth Nation of Alert Bay, B.C. in 1959. He has the rights to every crest figure of the Northwest Coast. Charles began dancing at the age of 3 and didn’t start carving until 22 in 1981. In 1997, after the loss of the Great Longhouse in Alert Bay, he was drawn by the tragedy to produce ever more work to preserve his native culture.

                 

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Chris Carl Joseph

 

Artist First Nation Born
Chris Carl Joseph Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1959

Chris Carl Joseph was born in 1959 into the Squamish Band of the Coast Salish Nation at Capilano in North Vancouver, BC. He began to carve when he was 18 years old under the direction of Salish Carver Marvin Baker. Chris is part of a large artistic family and reveals that it was only natural for him and his brothers to turn to carving to support their families. Chris specializes in carving bowls, talking sticks, totem poles and plaques.
 

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Robert Kelly

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Robert  Kelly Salish Mission, BC, CANADA,1957
 

Robert Kelly was born in 1957 in Mission, British Columbia, which is located in the Fraser Valley. He is part of the Stó:l? (River People) band of the Coast Salish Nation.  Robert began carving in his late teens inspired by the work of his older brother, Marvin Dana Baker.

 

Robert carves superb burls, plaques, totem poles and talking sticks, which are all eagerly sought by avid collectors of Northwest Coast art.

     

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Saila Kipanek

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Saila  Kipanek Inuit Cape Dorset, NU, CANADA,1948
 

Saila Kipanek was born August 28, 1948 in Cape Dorset, Nunavut where his father and grandfather were born. At an early age, his mother died and he and his sister were adopted by Kipanek of Lake Harbour, Nunavut.  After living in and around Lake Harbour, his family moved to Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay).  He has since reconnected with his natural extended family in Cape Dorset.

 

Saila started carving full time in 1980. He enjoys carving all types of stones, including marble, serpentine, and alabaster. He was the first to design a falcon in one solid piece from the base up.  He prefers his work to include solid bases.

 

In 1993 Saila was the recipient of a Canada Council grant for a series of 6 sculptures titled Earth, Air and Water; A Fragile Link.

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Rocky La Rock

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rocky  La Rock Salish Seattle, WA, USA,1958
 
 

Claude “Rocky” LaRock was born in 1958 in Seattle, Washington. At 12 years of age, Rocky moved to his mother’s homeland, a First Nations Community called Chehalis, located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

 

At 19, Rocky found his calling as a carver when he was walking along Jericho Beach; he came upon a man carving a Mermaid out of driftwood and he was hooked. Rocky began his apprenticeship under First Nations master artists Francis Horne Sr. and Ron Austin. Over three years under their direction, he learned the skills, techniques and stories of hand-carving the traditional way. Rocky took these teachings and added his own contemporary style. 

 

Throughout the last three decades, Rocky has maintained a steady career as a First Nations artist. Besides showcasing his work in galleries, businesses and private collections, he also employs his talent to teach native culture and art as a positive outlet. For example, in 2008/’09 Rocky worked at the University of the Fraser Valley within the visual arts department as Instructor and Studio Technician for the Indigenous Design & Technology program. From the 1980’s till present, Rocky has worked with troubled Native youth and inmates as a counselor and teacher, using art as a means to recovery and wellness of mind and spirit. Rocky also offers workshops for youth and adults.

 

Rocky’s art is greatly influenced by the forests and surrounding wildlife and a lifestyle rich in the Coast Salish native culture. Rocky continues to reside with his family in Chehalis and is an active member of the community and cultural traditions.

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Aubrey LaFortune

 

Artist First Nation Born
Aubrey  LaFortune Salish Victoria, BC, CANADA,1966
 

Aubrey LaFortune was born in 1966 in Victoria, B.C. He has lived on Vancouver Island throughout his entire life. He is a descendent of the Tsawout First Nation. His grandfather, Richard Harry, carved canoes for competitive canoe racing; this has inspired Aubrey to pursue carving as a career and carry on a family tradition.

 

Aubrey is the youngest of 14 children, with 8 sisters and 5 brothers. Prior to learning how to carve, Aubrey did sanding and painting work for his two oldest brothers, Francis and Doug. At the age of 20, he began carving under the supervision of both brothers. From that point on, he began to develop his own unique contemporary Coast Salish style of carving.

 

Aubrey puts strong emphasis on carving works that are emotively powerful and distinctly unique. He proves himself in putting extra details into his works. The execution of his knife-work is impeccable. His compositional arrangements are as inventive as they are complex; Aubrey’s work has been commissioned and collected throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and Germany.

     

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Doug LaFortune

 

Artist First Nation Born
Doug  LaFortune Salish Bellingham, WA, USA, 1953
 

Doug LaFortune was born in 1953 in Bellingham, Washington, and raised in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Doug completed his schooling in Victoria, then took a fine arts course at Camosun College in 1970. Uncertain of what he wanted to do, he took Logging and Heavy Equipment Operator courses, then went into logging until 1972. A visit with Simon Charlie in Koksilah kindled a desire to carve. Simon, already a world-renowned artist, took Doug on as an apprentice. It was here, with Simon’s teaching and influence, that Doug developed his very unique and successful style.

 

Doug has carved many pieces, from a 14-foot totem to masks, feasting dishes, talking sticks, rattles, and animal figures. His most recognized carvings are now standing in Duncan, B.C., known as the “City of Totems”. Doug carved five of the 12-foot totems situated along the highway and in the township. He also does a lot of design sketching and painting, and this has led to the release of several silkscreen prints. One of the most striking is “New Beginning”, depicting the classic Thunderbird and Killer Whale, which is used as an identifying hallmark for original Salish handcrafted work.

 

Doug’s other interests include hunting, fishing and playing ball hockey. He’s married to Kathleen and together they have three children. Doug and his family live in Victoria, B.C.

     

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John Lancaster

 

Artist First Nation Born
John  Lancaster Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA,1960
 

 

 

Cultural group: 'Namgis

 

 

John Lancaster was born in Alert Bay ,Vancouver Island (May, 1960), into the Kwagiulth Nation.  He takes the Wolf and Sun as his family crest. 
 
John lists Alfred Seaweed, a prominent Kwagiulth jewelry carver, as his teacher.  Carving gold and silver since 1986, John’s work depicts the traditional Kwagiulth motifs and legendary crest figures.  Stemming from a family of expert goldsmiths, John’s skills and expertise is revealed through the detail of his workmanship. 
 
Presently, John resides in Victoria on Vancouver Island to be near his family and to be close to his roots.
 
 

  

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Val Lancaster

 

Artist First Nation Born
Val  Lancaster Kwakwaka'wakw Matsqui, BC, CANADA,1967
 
 

Val Lancaster was born on January 25, 1967, in Matsqui, British Columbia, Canada.  She moved to Alert Bay in 1984, where she is a member of the Namigis First Nation, and lived there until 1998.  For the past three years, Val has lived on Mayne Island where she began carving silver and gold jewelry in January 1999.

 

She was trained in the art of carving silver and gold jewelry by her brothers, John and Don Lancaster of Victoria, who have been carving for over 20 years.  Val currently works from her home on Mayne Island implementing both traditional and original concepts into her Native art.

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Ronald Victor Larochelle

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ronald Victor Larochelle Haida Massett, BC, CANADA,1949
 

Ronald Victor Larochelle was born in Masset, British Columbia, on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in 1949.  He takes the Raven as his family crest.

 

From early childhood, Ron displayed an astonishing artistic ability.  Spending many hours watching Haida craftsmen and the beauty and perfection of their work made a deep impression on him.  Specifically, he acknowledges the influence of Robert and Claude Davidson in his design and has faithfully included the ancient Haida figures on his ceremonial robes.

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Jacob B. Lewis

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jacob B. Lewis Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1955
 

Jacob Lewis was born into the Squamish Tribe of the Coast Salish Nation in 1955.  He has been carving since the age of 18 and became prolific in his 20’s.

 

Jacob transforms a carving of yellow cedar into a work of complex design where integrated hidden crest figures are sub-plots within the larger work.  In a simple Sun, one might see several Ravens, Eagles and perhaps a Bear or Whale.  Even the eyebrows and cheeks of the figures become secondary creatures themselves.

 

He’s become internationally renowned for his elaborate original designs, and is best known for his ability to bring traditional and contemporary forms together. Although Jacob adheres to the established rules of Northwest Coast Native art in shape and form, he adds a modern dimension that is completely his own. It is this tension between the old and the new that makes Jacob’s work so compelling and alive.

 

Jacob’s work has been displayed in exhibitions all over North America and remains a part of prominent private collections throughout the world.

           

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Ken Loo

 

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ken  Loo Plains Standoff, AB, CANADA, 1950

 

Ken Loo was born in 1950 in Standoff, Alberta, Canada. Ken is a member of the Blood Nation of the Plains Indians. Ken has been carving silver and gold jewelry since 1980. He has apprenticed under such master Northwest Coast Native artists as Russell Smith, Beau Dick and Barry Wilson. Ken specializes in depicting Eagle feathers, which is a symbol of both power and prestige, as well as peace and friendship. The Eagle feather is still considered sacred both by West Coast and Eastern Nations alike. Ken’s simplicity of form and superb lines has drawn many collectors to his artwork.

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Andy Louie

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Andy  Louie Kwakwaka'wakw New Vancouver Island, BC, CANADA, 1954
 
 
Andy Louie, also known by his Native name Tanaktuek, is a member of the Kwakiutl Nation. Andy was born in 1954 on New Vancouver Island, a small fishing village off the east coast of Vancouver Island. Andy takes the Raven as his family crest. He cites his father, Mike Louie, a fisherman, logger, and carver as his teacher. Andy prefers to work with red and yellow cedar, carving superb talking sticks, figurines, totem poles, masks, and bentwood boxes. In 1992, Andy had a 19-foot pole raised in Maple Ridge, a community just outside of Vancouver, dedicated to the people of the community.

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David  Louis

 

Artist First Nation Born
David  Louis Salish North Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1969
 
 

David Louis was born in 1969 into the Squamish band of the Coast Salish Nation located in North Vancouver, B.C.  

Hailing from a large family of talented Salish carvers, David naturally began carving as a teenager. 

He cites Darren Louis, Peter Charlie and William Watts as his teachers. 

 

                                                                              

 

With his strong perception in expressing the natural richness of First Nations’ people, David

continues to expand and develop his skills as a Salish designer.

        

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Robert MacTavish

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Robert  MacTavish Cree Winnipeg, MB, CANADA, 1974
 

Robert MacTavish was born May 15, 1974 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He is of Cree and Scottish descent. Robert moved to the Squamish reservation on Vancouver’s north shore when he was seven years old.  From there he began a career as a West Coast artist 13 years ago, carving red and yellow cedar in the Salish style.  His mentors - Chris, Carl, and Darcy Joseph, and Dave and Chris Paul – are all prominent working artists in the Squamish nation.

 

Robert is a skilled tattoo artist and applies traditional native designs to skin as well as he does wood.

           

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George Matilpi

 

Artist First Nation Born
George  Matilpi Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1953
 
 
George Matilpi is a member of the Kwakiutl Nation, of the Pacific Northwest Coast peoples. George was born in 1953 in the tiny fishing village of Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island. George takes the mythological Thunderbird as his family crest. George began to carve at the age of fourteen, coming from a family that has been producing prominent artists for many generations. George apprenticed with his half brother, Lloyd Wadhams, and cousin Ned Matilpi. George is a full-time carver who prefers to work in cedar, the wood so important to the Pacific Northwest Coast Natives.

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Jim McGuire

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jim  McGuire Haida Queen Charlotte City, BC, CANADA, 1947
 

 

Jim McGuire was born in Queen Charlotte City, near the Haida Village of Skidegate, in 1953 and is a member of the Haida Nation. Jim has the distinct honour of being a direct relation of the world-renowned Haida artist Charles Edenshaw, and is acknowledged to be one of the outstanding Haida artists of his time.

 

As a child Jim spent many hours watching his older brother Pat McGuire carve argillite, a semi-precious black stone that only Haida natives carve. He would also pay attention as his uncle Edmund recounted the stories and legends of his ancestors.  In 1970 Jim began carving argillite himself, and in 1975 he began carving gold and silver. He first learned to make the required tools by Gerry Marks, and then went to Robert Davidson’s design seminar to learn the principles of design. One thing Jim learned there was the importance of originality: no two of Jim’s designs are ever the same.

 

The Haida Nation is well known among Northwest coast art lovers for their great reputation in jewellery, and Jim certainly lives up to this reputation. His work features extremely fine craftsmanship and details and each piece has a particular abstract style that catches the eye of the first-time viewer, and similarly rewards close scrutiny. The jewellery Jim creates is among the finest in the world.

           

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Charles McKay

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Charles  McKay Salish Lytton, BC, CANADA
 

Charles K. McKay was born where the Fraser and Thompson Rivers meet. Though he grew up surrounded by artists, he is primarily self-taught; he learned by observing his family as they created boxes, masks, paintings, and baskets. He voraciously read West Coast art books and is an avid student of the different styles, stories, and standards of other First Nations in BC. Through this process, Charles has forged a uniquely identifiable style.

 

Charles began carving and painting as a hobby during his high school and college years. He enjoys working on art full time, and goes to native gatherings such as pow-wows and conferences with his mother.

 

Charles carves with red and yellow cedar, antler, leather work, and a variety of ivories such as mastodon tusk, killerwhale teeth, and walrus tusk. He also does detailed work with abalone and a variety of shells and stones as inlays.

 

His artwork is purchased worldwide and sold through a variety of art galleries and private collectors.

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Darren McKenzie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Darren  McKenzie Salish Regina, SK, CANADA, 1960
 
 

Darren McKenzie was born in 1969 in Regina, Saskatchewan.  He began his career as a Cree painter.

 

When he migrated west to Vancouver in 1987, his style migrated as well. Two-dimensional designs soon evolved into three-dimensional carving.

 

Once in Vancouver, Darren found himself drawn to the Northwest Coast Native style and began to carve under the guidance of Coast Salish prominent artist and friend Gerry Sheena.  His skill developed quicker than most and soon he was accepted into the prestigious Native Art school renowned for its talented graduates. In 1997, Darren graduated from the Kitanmaax School at K’San in Hazelton, British Columbia under his mentor Ken Mowatt.  He looks forward to the honor of being adopted by his Hazelton friends into the Kitanmaax Reserve of the Tsimshian Nation.

 

Darren’s work is known for its creative expression, technical expertise and a “wispy” quality that makes it flow beautifully. When asked to describe his work, Darren responded; “While having mastered aspects of traditional Northwest Coast art, I feel is it now my goal to make a contribution to a more modern movement of contemporary First Nations art. Personally, I have an understanding of traditional forms of many indigenous people and, with this knowledge, I am inspired to create forms that are a culmination of many years of study and the application of complex techniques.  My inspiration comes from nature and the importance of nature cannot be undermined. From the simplest life form to the most complex, it is our mother that binds us all.  So I must feel her heartbeat with my soul and bring her to life with the hands she made.  For these reasons, I believe it is essential for me to produce art that strikes an emotional response from the viewer with pleasing forms that wash through the mind to the pool of your imagination.”

     

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James H. Michels

 

Artist First Nation Born
James H. Michels Metis Merritt, BC, CANADA, 1969
 

James Michels was born on July 29th, 1969 in Merritt, BC. He is a highly accomplished Cree/Metis artist whose creations are held in high esteem by other artists and knowledgeable collectors. 

 

James apprenticed with acclaimed Coast Salish artist Joseph Campbell; he also spent considerable time observing various master artists at the K’san Native Art School. His bentwood boxes and stunning carved panels can be regularly viewed in most of the major galleries of Northwest Coast artwork in both Canada and the United States.  

 

James has worked on a large commission of a series of bentwood boxes for the Canadian Government. He also commissioned a series of his bentwood boxes for the participants of the 2005 PGA Golf Skins game in Whistler, BC. In addition, his artwork has been purchased by former President Bill Clinton, Former Prime Minister Paul Martin and singing legend Joni Mitchell. James is also sought after for his exceptional large carved panels and totem poles.

           

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Clarence Mills

 

Artist First Nation Born
Clarence  Mills Haida Skidegate, BC, CANADA, 1958
 
 

Clarence Mills was born into the Wilson family at Skidegate, on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia in 1958.  He is a member of the Eagle Clan and takes the Two-Headed Raven and Grizzly Bear as his crests.  

 

His grandfather Jimmy Wilson was hereditary Chief Skedans.  His great-grandfather, carver Henry Young, gave him his Haida name Gahghinskuss, meaning ‘out of your own land’.

 

With guidance from his uncle, Doug Wilson, Clarence began studying traditional Haida art at the age of eighteen.  He has since produced carvings in just about every medium available, and his designs are among the most powerful artwork created today. His Haida family crests inspire the design principals incorporated into his carvings in argillite, ivory, red and yellow cedar boxes, bowls, doors, panels, limited edition prints, engraved gold and silver jewellery, and most recently, monumental totem poles for international    events.

 

As he develops a worldwide following, he has established markets for his artwork in Canada, the United States, and Europe.  Clarence currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Norval Morrisseau

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Norval  Morrisseau Ojibwa Sandy Point Reserve, ON, CANADA. 1931
 
 

Norval Morrisseau, C.M. (March 14, 1932 – December 4, 2007)also known as Copper Thunderbird, was an Aboriginal Canadian artist. Known as the “Picasso of the North”, Morrisseau created works depicting the legends of his people, the cultural and political tensions between native Canadian and European traditions, his existential struggles, and his deep spirituality and mysticism. His style is characterized by thick black outlines and bright colors. He founded the Woodlands School of Canadian art and was a prominent member of the “Indian Group of Seven”.

Morrisseau was a self-taught artist. He developed his own techniques and artistic vocabulary which captured ancient legends and images that came to him in visions or dreams. He was originally criticized by the native community because his images disclosed traditional spiritual knowledge. Initially he painted on any material that he could find, especially birchbark, and also moose hide. An early advocate of Morrisseau was the anthropologist Selwyn Dewdney, who became very interested in Morrisseau’s deep knowledge of native culture and myth. Dewdney was the first to take his art to a wider public, and encouraged him to use earth-tone colors and traditional material, which he thought were appropriate to Morrisseau’s native style.

The subjects of his art in the early period were myths and traditions of the Anishnaabe people. He is acknowledged to have initiated the Woodland School of native art, where images similar to the petroglyphs of the Great Lakes region were now captured in paintings and prints.

His later style changed: he used more standard material and the colors became progressively brighter, eventually obtaining a neon-like brilliance. The themes also moved from traditional myth to depicting his own personal struggles. He also produced art depicting Christian subjects: during his incarceration, he attended a local church where he was struck by the beauty of the images on stained-glass windows. Some of his paintings, like Indian Jesus Christ, imitate that style and represent characters from the Bible with native features.

           

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Harold Natrall

 

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Harold  Natrall Salish Mission, BC, CANADA, 1939
 
 
Harold Natrall was born in 1939 into the Salish Nation in British Columbia. Harold, originally from the Mission Reserve, began to carve at the age of 15 after spending many hours watching his father, Andrew Natrall, carve in the fine old tradition of the Salish masters. Harold carves figurines, totem poles, and faces. He presently lives on the Capilano Reserve located in North Vancouver where he dedicates himself to his art full-time.

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Pat Natrall

 

Artist First Nation Born
Pat  Natrall Salish Mission, BC, CANADA
 
 
Pat Natrall was born on the Mission Reserve near Vancouver, British Columbia. Pat was born into the Salish Nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast Natives. As a child, Pat began to carve in the soft red and yellow cedar indigenous to British Columbia. He began to carve watching his father, Andrew Natrall, produce small pieces in his spare time. Pat and his brothers have turned carving into a full-time career, creating totem poles, masks, talking sticks and plaques.
 

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Willie Noah

 

Artist First Nation Born
Willie  Noah Inuit Iqaluit, NT, CANADA,1974

 

Willie Noah was born in 1974 in Iqaluit on Baffin Island.  Willie comes from a family of talented carvers; his grandfather is Napatchie Noah, a well known Inuit artist.  Napatchie is known for his finely executed beluga whales.

 

Other relations that have had an influence on Willie’s work include Tommy Tukpanie Sr., Peter Salamonie, Pauloosie Takpanie, and Tommy Tukpanie Jr.

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Maxine (loyan Mani) Noel

 

Artist First Nation Born
Maxine (Ioyan Mani) Noel Sioux Birdtail Reservation, MB, CANADA, 1946
 
 

Maxine Noel was born in Manitoba of Santee Oglada Sioux parents. She spent her early childhood on her mother’s reserve and, by the age of six, she left to attend a Native residential school. 

Maxine’s early career as a legal secretary was quite soon overshadowed by her interest with painting and drawing. She took a course in advanced design where a teacher noticed her tendency toward linear expression and encouraged her in the use of shape and line to suggest movement.  She learned those lessons well as evidenced by much of her work today.

Since those early days, Maxine has mastered the skill of painting and drawing plus the processes of serigraphy, etching and stone lithography. Recently, she has turned her talents to the creation of editions in cast paper and limited edition bronze castings.

Maxine has received excellent response to her work and is now able to devote herself full-time to the creation of her art.

She signs her artwork with her Sioux name, Ioyan Mani, which translates as "walk beyond".

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Daphne Odjig

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Daphne  Odjig Ojibwa Manitoulin Island, ON, CANADA, 1925
 
 

Daphne Odjig (1919-2016) was born of Odawa parents on the Wakwemikong reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario; she is affiliated with the Ojibwa and Potawatomi tribes.

 

Daphne Odjig is one of a small group of Canadian native artists who continues to enjoy international recognition. Her painting has depicted a wide range of topics from legend painting to socioeconomic statements on native culture.

 

As a woodland school painter, she earned some of Canada’s most important honours, including the order of Canada in 1986 and honourary degrees from several universities. 

 

Distinguished among the woodland group by her expressive and lyric use of the formline, Daphne’s work contributed to many of the milestone exhibitions of contemporary native art throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. 

 

Her most telling honour was the Eagle feather given by her home reserve in 1978, an accolade reserved previously for males excelling in hunting or combat.

 

Daphne’s work has been exhibited in Europe, Israel, and Japan and can be found in many museums, art galleries and major private collections throughout the world.

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Eddie Omnik

 

Artist First Nation Born
Eddie  Omnik Inuit Point Hope, AK, USA, 1950

 

Eddie Omnik (1950-2008) was born in Point Hope, Alaska.  He was part of the long tradition of carving among Inuit Pac people.

Eddie’s interest in carving began at the age of 12 while watching his father, Panneeluke Omnik, who was a carver of ivory, bone, and soapstone. What began as a way to earn extra money as a child has brought Eddie international attention.

His style was influenced first by his father and later by well-known artists to help guide his natural talent. Eddie was grateful for the talented men who taught him and inspired him to maintain his Native culture and the art of his people.

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Lorrie Pambrun

 

Artist First Nation Born
Lorrie  Pambrun Cree AB, CANADA, 1959
 
 
Lorrie Pambrun was born in 1959 in Alberta, Canada. He is Cree on his father’s side and Haida on his mother’s. Lorrie began carving in the Northwest Coast style in 1979 under the direction of master carvers Norman Tait and Guss Wade. Lorrie prefers to work in wood carving superb bowls, rattles, masks and poles for avid collectors.

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Len Paquette

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Len  Paquette Cree Slave Lake, BC, CANADA
 
 

Len Paquette was born in Slave Lake in Northern Alberta, Canada. Len is a full-blooded Cree who takes the Grizzly Bear as his family crest. Len began to carve in the Pacific Northwest Coast style in 1978 under the guidance of Gene Brabant, Francis Horne, and Larry Russo, all well-known West Coast Native artists. Len’s attention to detail, distinctive style, and use of materials makes each piece a coveted collector’s item.

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Bob Paton

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Bob  Paton Haida Haida Gwaii, BC, CANADA, 1969
 
 
 

Bob Paton was born on October 4, 1969 in Penticton, BC. He is of the Haida Nation, Raven Clan, and his grandfather was a well-known argillite carver named Rayno Russ. His family moved from Old Massett, on Haida Gwaii, shortly before he was born. Haida Gwaii is an archipelago-continent consisting of two large islands and over 150 smaller ones,. From here, isolated from the mainland coast’s First Nations, the Haida braved the wild ocean waves to both raid and trade. A complex and artistically rich culture flourished on Haida Gwaii for countless generations of habitation before the arrival of European explorers and fur-traders.  However, after three generations of contact with Europeans, their small pox, liquor, and industry, the Haida dwindled from 10,000 strong to about 600.

 

Bob began woodcarving in the late 1990’s.  He was fortunate to be apprenticed by the renowned Master Haida carver George Storry.  Bob carves elegant Haida designs in the traditional medium of red and yellow cedar, focusing on producing masks and bentwood boxes.

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Chester Patrick

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Chester  Patrick Tsimishian Hazelton, BC, CANADA, 1958
 
 

Chester Patrick was born in 1958 in Hazelton, British Columbia.  A member of the Gitxsan Nation, Frog was his family crest. Chester passed away in February 2008.  

 

Chester completed a two-year program at Ksan, British Columbia’s first Native art school. He attended in 1975, but decided not to finish the program because he preferred to study independently. Chester went back to Ksan in 1981 to complete the program, and was fortunate to study with such West Coast masters as Vernon Stephens, Earl Muldoe, Ken Mowatt, and Walter Harris. 

 

In 1989, Chester carved a forty-two foot pole for the Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. Chester has done a number of large commissioned works like this and, to complement his carving, continued to paint and study design. In June, 2007, he received the BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art, a juried prize that recognizes excellence in First Nations Art. 

 

Chester signed his work CHAZ, which is a combination of the first letters of his name and the first letters of Hazelton, his hometown.

           

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Tim Pee

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Tim  Pee Inuit Cape Dorset, NU, CANADA, 1976
 
Tim Pee was born on July 17, 1976 in Cape Dorset, Baffin Island, Nunavut Territory.
 
Tim comes from a traditional style family background and he is one of the younger and talented carvers on Baffin Island. Tim is full-time carver and his works are mainly Bears  walking or standing. They are all well executed and have fine form.
 
His work has potential and at present he is at a stage of developing more freedom in his style. His carvings are very strong and direct.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

     

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Joanasie Petaloosie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Joanasie  Petaloosie Inuit Cumberland Sound, NU, CANADA, 1938
 
Joanasie Petaloosie passed away in October of 1995 while returning from a walrus hunt. His father Alleevuktuk Petaloosie came from Blacklead Island in the Cumberland Sound area. Alleevuktuk was known for his renderings of the eared owl, Wolf and arctic hair.
 
Joanasie lived in both the Iqaluit and Cape Dorset, possibly born in the Cumberland Sound area before Alleevuktuk and family moved to Iqaluit. Joanasie lived in Iqaluit for many years and then moved to Cape Dorset for a period of six to seven years. When he moved back to Iqaluit he concentrated on his carving rather than his previous work as a linesman with NCPC. He has produced a high standard of small and large sculpture.
 
His work is very sensitive with a wide range of subject matter of animals and figures, in particular loons, polar Bears, fish, walrus, hunters and women.  Joanasie has several sons, notable Jimmy and Noah who have an obvious talent as well.His brothers are Nuna Parr and Jamesee Kootoo. Nuna lives in Cape Dorset is a well-known sculpture of polar Bears and walrus. Jamesee who lives in Lake Harbor is also an excellent and well-known sculpture.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

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George Peters

 

Artist First Nation Born
George  Peters Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1949
 
When George Peters was a young boy in Alert Bay, British Columbia, where he was born in 1949, he used to watch his uncle Billy Peters carve their Kwagiulth Thunderbird family crest and other totems from red and yellow cedar.
 
Today George continues to produce marvelous carvings in the Kwakwaka'wakw tradition that rank him as one of the many northwest coast artists who are preserving the carving traditions of his ancestors for future generations.
 
The carving traditions of the Kwakwaka'wakw nations are such an integral part of their potlatch culture and social order that they refused to put it aside during the British Columbia government's ban of the potlatch from 1884 to 1949. Potlatches went on secretly on secluded Islands, and carvers never stopped making masks and art. They kept much work hidden, even while large collections were confiscated and shipped to museums around the world.

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Gary Peterson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Gary  Peterson Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA
 
Gary Peterson was born a member of the Kwagiulth Nation in Alert Bay, British Columbia, in 1974. He has been given the Sisiutl, Raven, Whale, and Sun as his family crests. His grandfather, Alvin Alfred, honoured him with the rights to the Kwagiulth dance Hawina Lat.
 
Gary remembers longing to be an artist as a young child watching the elders carve and listening to their stories. He began carving in 1989, and made it his career in 1992.
 
Gary apprenticed under such masters as Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick. His preferred mediums are cedar and alder, and his style is bold and bright. Gary''s work is on display throughout the northwest and in private collections around the world.

  

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Jimmy  Petooloosie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jimmy  Petooloosie Inuit Cape Dorset, NU, CANADA
 
The young artist resides in the community of Cape Dorset, a small but important settlement on the south coast of Baffin Island.
His father, Joanassie and his brother Noah are prominent carvers. Joanassie encouraged his sons to carve and make extra money from their work, and he permitted them to assist him on their early efforts.
 
Jimmy Peetooloosie speaks both his native language of Inkutitut and English. He enjoys both his life in Cape Dorset and particularly life on the land, where each member of the family has their own favorite summer camp.
This artist is known for his depictions of wildlife, particularly the polar Bear.

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Matthew  Petooloosie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Matthew  Petooloosie Inuit Iqaluit, NT, CANADA, 1973
 
Matthew Petooloosie was born in 1973 in Iqaluit and is the youngest son of the late Joanasie Petooloosie who died tragically while returning from walrus hunting in October 1995.
 
His uncle is Nuna Parr of Cape Dorset with whom he has lived and worked from time to time.
As a young boy Matthew played a role as an extra in a film starring Rod Steiger and Richard Chamberlain. It was about Robert Peary and Frederick Cooke and their bitter rivalry to reach the North Pole first.
 
Matthew began carving with Nuna Parr in the early 90's while he lived with his brother in Cape Dorset. He also went to Korak Inlet several times with Nuna to help mine carving stone at the quarry. This was a positive and enriching experience for him as a young man as many artists of all ages, together with their families, live at the site for the summer. It is a modern setting for an old way of life and helps reinforce Inuit cultural values and life skills.
 
Matthew's carvings are mostly realistic birds and animals but he occasionally like to produce figurative work.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

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Susan Point

 

Artist First Nation Born
Susan  Point Salish Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1952
 
Coast Salish artist Susan Point was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia, on April 5, 1952. Since birth Susan has lived on the Musqueam First Nation Reservation in Vancouver, B.C. Susan began her art career in 1981 with engravings on bracelets, rings, pendants, earrings and barrens. Although many of her contemporaries were producing designs which were representative of more northern native groups, she chose to concentrate on the designs of her own people. Consulting with her uncle, Professor Michael Kew, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, Susan began to investigate traditional Coast Salish art forms. One of the forms that intrigued her was the spindle whorl, a wooden disk, elaborately carved, which was used in the spinning of wool. Using silk-screen prints, Point began experimenting with traditional two-dimensional designs. Her first print was Salmon. This design is of four salmon in a circular format, recalling the spindle whorls Susan had studied in the museums and collections. She went on to produce more than 100 prints during this period, revealing a mastery of the traditional Coast Salish style. During the next ten years, Susan worked to define her interpretation of traditional art forms. In 1983, she began blending colours, prompting some critics to reject her colour schemes as nontraditional. Although Point was concerned about this negative reaction, her creative drive prevailed, and soon she was exploring other techniques, such as foil embossing, paper casting, linocut printing and lithography. In the 1990''s, Susan Point began creating three-dimensional art in materials such as glass, bronze, wood, concrete, polymer, stainless steel, and cast iron. Due to her willingness to explore new mediums and work on a large scale, Point has been awarded numerous public art commissions, including building facades and large sculptures. Susan Point has been acclaimed as one of the most innovative artists of our time, adapting traditional Coast Salish art forms to modern designs and materials.
 
copyright © 2000 Susan A. Point

           

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Mark Preston

 

Artist First Nation Born
Mark  Preston Tlingit Dawson City, YT, CANADA
 
Mark Preston was born in Dawson City, Yukon. He is of Tlingit and Irish ancestry and presently lives in Whitehorse, Yukon. He learned about his Tlingit ancestry and culture through school and his family, yet his first art lessons came from studying such European masters as Leonard Da Vinci and Michelangelo, later he discovered other masters, such as first nation artists Bill Reid, Robert Davidson and Roy Vickers. Mark began silver engraving under the intensive instruction of master jeweller Phil Janze. While silver became Mark's life-long dedication, he also went on to study wood carving at the famed Ksaan school in Hazelton, British Columbia. When Mark returned to the Yukon, he began to work with his mother, kay-yee-yah (big country woman), a skilled artist in her own right. Between them, they have produced a unique line of garments with beautiful appliquas of cloth or beading which has become very successful over the years. Mark states: 'When I think about what art is, it is more than illustration or objects to be doted over. Art is the magic, is the glue that brings us all together. It is the language that transcends its forms. Art gives us reason to think, ponder and speak our minds'.

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Bill Reid

 

Artist First Nation Born
Bill  Reid Haida Victoria, BC, CANADA, 1920
 
One of Canada''s foremost artists, Haida artist Bill Reid, an outstanding gold and silversmith turned sculptor, was proclaimed a National Living Treasure and was instrumental in inspiring a people to reclaim their cultural heritage.  Collected internationally and much-honored, Bill Reid created, among his best known sculptures, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. (The Black Canoe, 1991) and at the Vancouver International Airport (The Jade Canoe, 1996).  Building upon the broad range of his expression, Bill Reid translated his original designs of animal crests into limited edition silk screen or woodcut prints.  COPPER - Among the Northwest Coast First Nations, the ultimate symbol of wealth, power and prestige was (and still is) the Copper. a keystone-shaped shield made of beaten copper sheets and decorated with a crest design. They were nore, had names and their symbolic as well as their material values were very high. Its color, like that of the salmon, connotes wealth. Bill Reid 1920-1998

       

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Alfred Robertson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Alfred  Robertson Kwakwaka'wakw Kingcome Inlet, BC, CANADA, 1950

 

Alfred Robertson was born August 17th, 1950 in Kingcome Inlet, British Columbia, located off the southern coast. This area is representative of the Kwagiulth Nation. Alfred was taught to carve by his father, William Robertson, and has carved with his brother, Sampson Robertson, from whom he learned this technique. He has been carving Northwest Coast artwork for sixteen years. Alfred carves in yellow and red cedar wood. Presently, he resides in Nanaimo and carves on a full-time basis. In his spare time, Alfred teaches basic carving skills to elementary school children. Alfred is one of many Northwest Coast Native artists who is preserving the carving traditions of his people.

  

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Jackson  Robertson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jackson  Robertson Kwakwaka'wakw Kingcome Inlet, BC, CANADA, 1956

 

Born in a tiny community of Kingcome Inlet, British Columbia, Canada in 1956, Jackson is a member of the Kwagiulth Nation. Jackson started carving at the age of fourteen under the guidance of his grandfather William Robertson, and his uncle David Robertson. Working in a traditional style, Jackson prefers to carve in the mediums of cedar, gold and sterling silver. Presently residing in Nanaimo, B.C., he's carrying on the family traditions of carving and teaching the art of his ancestors.

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Manual Salazar

 

Artist First Nation Born
Manual  Salazar Salish Seattle, WA, USA, 1966
 
Manuel Salazar is a member of the First Nations Cowichan Band affiliation of the Cowichan Valley in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada. At the young age of twenty-three, Manuel discovered a strong desire to distribute fine Salish arts and crafts within a period of two years. Manuel has entered his art pieces into various art shows. To his talent was awarded second place in a province-wide art contest sponsored by Cowichan's Native Heritage Centre, which took place in the winter of 1991. Also to his talent was awarded second place and an honourable mention in the 1992 annual spring art show and sale, sponsored by the Cowichan Valley Arts Council. Manuel was also awarded special recognition for this contribution. Manuel is presently in the process of designing and painting traditionally hand crafted drums (using acrylics) and producing fine limited-edition prints. He spent the summer of 1993 at the Native Heritage Centre, concentrating on these original designs and drum painting. He has had artistic learning experiences with other well-known artists who have helped to guide his talent. With strong concept of expressing the natural richness of our First Nations people, Manuel will continue to expand and develop his talent as a Salish arts and crafts designer.

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Lionel Samuels

 

Artist First Nation Born
Lionel  Samuels Haida Massett, BC, CANADA, 1963
 
Lionel Samuels was born in 1963 in Masset, a town on British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands. His ancestors called this archipelago-continent, consisting of two large islands and over 150 smaller ones, Haida Gwaii . From here, isolated from the mainland coast's First Nations, the Haida braved the wild ocean waves to both raid and trade. A complex and artistically rich culture flourished on Haida Gwaii for countless generations of habitation before the arrival of European explorers and fur-traders. Lionel takes the Frog as his Haida family crest.
 
When asked how he first became involved in Native art, Lionel responded that he was born into it - his relatives include Claude and Robert Davidson. He's well versed in argillite and wood carving, silver and gold design, as well as prints and original paintings. Avid collectors eagerly seek Lionel's artwork. He is renowned for his argillite carving and examples of his work can be found in major museums throughout Canada.
 
The Haida Native people are renowned for their beautiful 'black slate' or argillite carvings. They began carving argillite in response to the early curio trade of the 1820's. Soon the artistic accomplishments of the Haida in the use of materials such as wood, horn and stone included this new medium. After three generations of contact with Europeans, their small pox, liquor, missionaries and industry, the Haida had dwindled from 10,000 strong to about 600. It was then that Charles Edenshaw, a master artist and traditional Eagle clan Chief, began working with argillite. Without the resources to continue to erect Totem Poles and Longhouses carved with traditional crests, Edenshaw's promotion of argillite carving helped the Haida keep their stories and myths alive in a new medium.
 
The story of the Haida's near destruction is told in the classic novel Raven's Cry by Christie Harris, which includes the beginning of argillite carving during Edenshaw's youth. The book is available at Hill's (www.hillsnativeart.com) and is illustrated by Bill Reid, Charles Edenshaw's great nephew who became British Columbia's best known Native artist.

     

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Alfred Scow

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Alfred  Scow Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA,1956

 

Alfred Scow was born December 11th, 1966 in Alert Bay, a fishing village located off the Northeastern Coast of Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia, Canada. This area is representative of the Kwagiulth Nation, a tribe that inhabits the southern region of the province. Alfred takes the Thunderbird, the most powerful mythological creature, as his family crest. Alfred became involved in making native art in 1993 strictly carving cedar wood. He lists such prominent Northwest Coast Native artists as Wayne Alfred and Stephen Bruce as his main influences and instructors. Alfred is one of many Northwest Native artists who is preserving the traditional style of carving of his cultural background through his artwork.

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Laurence Scow

 

Artist First Nation Born
Laurence  Scow Kwakwaka'wakw Port Hardy, BC, CANADA, 1958
 
Laurence Scow was born in 1958 into the Kwakiutl Nation located in Port Hardy, British Columbia. Although he was born into a long line of carvers, Laurence did not start carving until later in life. He began carving in 1985, inspired by the work of Bill Wilson and Larry Hunt. His attention to detail and elegant lines makes each piece a complete work of art.

     

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Leonard Scow

 

Artist First Nation Born
Leonard  Scow Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1962
 
In 1962, Leonard Scow was born in Alert Bay on Victoria Island, British Columbia. Leonard is part of the Kwagiulth Nation and takes the Raven, Eagle and Bear as his family crests. Under the careful guidance of Wayne Alfred, Leonard began carving in 1992. He also produces limited edition and original prints, but claims that wood is his favorite medium.

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Raymond Scow

 

Artist First Nation Born
Raymond  Scow Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA
 
Ray Scow comes from a family of well-known Kwagiulth carvers from Alert Bay, a small town on the northeastern part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The Kwagiulth are one group within the Kwakwakwa'wakw (Speakers of Kwakwala) Nation, which claims territory on eastern Vancouver Island as well as a large area of the mainland just east of the island. In the late nineteenth century, a few different tribal villages combined to form what is now Alert Bay  Ray comes from a long line of carvers descending from these villages. His work and that of brothers like Leonard, Rupert, and Barry is exceptional and well known on British Columbia''s west coast. They were all born in the early sixties and began carving under the guidance of Wayne Alfred.  Ray works with red and yellow cedar, and explores the whole spectrum of Kwagiulth carving. This includes masks, talking sticks, and paddles among other things. His carving reflects the traditional figures of Kwagiulth heritage, and collectors worldwide prize his artwork. Presently Ray lives in the greater Vancouver area and continues to produce some of the finest carvings available.

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Rupert Scow

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rupert  Scow Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1957
 
A member of the Kwaguilth Nation, Rupert Scow was born in 1957 in Alert Bay, British Columbia, a small fishing village on the northern part of Vancouver Island. Rupert takes the Sisiutl, or double headed sea serpent, and the Bear as his family crests. Although he comes from a long line of carvers, Rupert only began to carve four years ago under the guidance of Wayne Alfred, Vince Shaughnessy, and Steven Bruce. He has an innate talent and quickly mastered the art of woodcarving.

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Alfred Seaweed

 

Artist First Nation Born
Alfred  Seaweed Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1949
 
Alfred Seaweed was born May 22, 1949 in Alert Bay, a small fishing village off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island, in the province of British Columbia, Canada. This area is representative of the Kwagiulth Nation, a tribe that inhabits mainly the southern region of the province. Alfred takes the Sisiutl (double-headed sea serpent), from his mother, and the eagle, from his father, as his family crests. Alfred is a descent from a large family of carvers, so it was only natural that he begin carving. In 1978 Alfred apprenticed under Lloyd Wadhams, a prominent Kwagiulth artist also from Alert Bay, who is now deceased.
 
Lloyd taught Alfred the art of jewellry carving, using silver and gold as his mediums. Alfred has been dealing with Hill's Native Art since he began carving jewellry. Alfred's style is traditionally Kwagiulth depicting motifs that are common to the Kwagiulth mythology. Alfred is a well respected artist in the native community as he avidly preserves the carving traditions of his ancestors for future generations.

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Ann Seaweed

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ann  Seaweed Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1961
 
Ann Seaweed was born January 26, 1961 in Alert Bay, off the northern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Her grandmother was a member of the Kwagiulth Nation, while her grandfather was a member of the Salish Nation. As the First Nations people go by matrilineal descent, she is considered Kwagiulth. The Kwagiulth Nation inhabits the southern region of the mainland and the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island. Ann takes the Sisiutl (double headed serpent), revered for its great strength, as her family crest. Alfred Seaweed, her husband and Northwest Coast jewellry carver, has greatly influenced her work through his teaching, which is evident in her carving style. She has been carving for seven years (1994) and became involved in making jewellry in order to carry on the family tradition. Presently, ann carves gold and silver on a part-time basis.

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Patrick Paddy Seaweed

 

Artist First Nation Born
Patrick Paddy Seaweed Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1955
 
Patrick Seaweed was born in 1955 in Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada. As a member of the Kwagiulth Nation, he takes the mythical Sisiutl as his family crest - one of the highest-ranking crests in Kwagiulth culture.
 
Patrick comes from a large family of fellow carvers and is a relative of renowned West Coast artist, Willie Seaweed. He began carving previous metals in 1977, inspired by his cousin Lloyd Wadhams Sr. He is best known for his bold, deep, clean lines and powerful designs. Patrick's work is on display in galleries throughout the Northwest Coast.

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Gino Seward

 

Artist First Nation Born
Gino  Seward Salish Nanaimo, BC, CANADA, 1972
 
Gino Seward was born March 8, 1972 in the city of Nanaimo on the Southeast coast of Vancouver Island, across the straight of Georgia from Vancouver. Gino is of the Nanaimo, or Sne ney mux, band of Coast Salish on his father's side. They are part of the larger network of Vancouver Island's Salish tribes called the Hul'qumi'num. Though at the furthest west boundary of the extensive lands of Salish speaking nations, the Hul'qumi'num remained so connected to their Salish relations of the Fraser Valley, that whole villages would travel over the straight en masse by canoe flotilla. There they spent two months each year fishing the sockeye Salmon returning to spawn, and feasting with the Sto:lo bands of the Fraser River.
 
On his mother's side however, Gino belongs to the Tswataineuk band of the Kwakwaka'wakw - 'speakers of Kwakwala' - or Kwakiutl nations. The Kwakiutl's territory stretches from Northeastern Vancouver Island to the adjacent mainland and covers the many Islands in between. They are the Northwest's masters of art and dram, traditionally spending half their year living with family clans, and half the year within secret societies. These societies performed masked dances in winter ceremonies, which overshadowed the pageantry and spectacle of all the other potlatching nations of the pacific coast. In fact, the seclusion of the Kwakiutl's many inlets and island communities allowed them to continue potlatching in secret during Canada''s oppressive ban of the potlatch from 1885 until 1951.
 
Gino became involved in Native Art in 1983. He was taught by his Salish grandfather and by the Kwakiutl master carvers Jackson Robertson and William Robertson. Gino's favourite subjects are Bear, Eagle, and Killer Whale plaques and totems carved from red and yellow cedar. Gino has been selling to Hill's Native Art for over nine years and has aspirations of eventually opening his own gallery. Today he has two young apprentices, Bubby Pugles and Sammy Seward, who are eager to preserve the artistic traditions of their ancestors. Keep an eye out at Hill's for their upcoming works!

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Solomon Seward

 

Artist First Nation Born
Solomon  Seward Kwakwaka'wakw Nanaimo, BC, CANADA, 1970
 
Solomon Seward was born on March 16, 1970 in the port town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island's Southeast coast, where he still lives today. Although Nanaimo lies within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish Nations, Soloman is of Kwakwaka'wakw descent. The homelands of the Kwakwaka'wakw - 'speakers of Kwakwala' - or Kwakiutl First Nations are just north of the Coast Salish peoples. The territory stretches from Alert Bay, on Vancouver Island's Northeast Coast, to the adjacent mainland covering the many islands inbetween. Masters of art and drama, the Kwakiutl traditionally spent half their year living within family clans, and half the year within secret societies that performed masked dances in winter ceremonies. These ceremonies overshadowed the pageantry and spectacle of all the other potlatching nations of the pacific coast. In fact, the seclusion of the Kwakiutl's many inlet and island communities allowed Solomon's people to continue potlatching in secret during Canada's oppressive ban of the potlatch from 1885 until 1951. Solomon belongs to the Tsawataineuk band of the Kwakiutl that hail from Kingcome Inlet on the mainland coast, and holds Eagle and Bear as his Tsawataineuk family crests.
 
Inspired by such great Northwest Coast Native artists as Tony Hunt and Bill Reid, Solomon began his career as a wood carver 20 years ago, learning from the Master Kwakiutl carver Alfred Robertson. Then, after 10 years of woodcarving, he punctured a lung in a carving accident and his life and artistic career took a drastic turn. After recovering from surgery Solomon switched to jewellery engraving, under the instruction of Jackson Robertson. Solomon is a prolific artist, working every day to support his family, to whom he devotes all his free time. He works in gold, silver, copper and occasionally brass. His favourite pieces to make are bracelets, pendants, and wrap-around rings. Among his greatest achievements he remembers restoring a 30-foot totem pole in Port Coquitlam 15 years ago. Solomon has sold to Hills Native Art since the early 80's, beginning with his first carving - a cedar eagle plaque. In future he plans to work with nothing but gold. Although he never planned to become a jewellry smith, Solomon excelled quickly in his new medium. He began making sales within his first week and his pieces have become highly sought-after treasures.

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Ralph  Shaugnessy

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ralph  Shaugnessy Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1965
 
Ralph Shaugnessy was born approximately in 1965 in the village of Alert Bay, on the northeastern shore of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
 
He's a representative of the Kwaguilth Nation and takes the Sisiutl, the highest ranking figure in Kwaguilth mythology, as his family crest.
 
Ralph has been carving since he was a child, as the Shaugnessy family is well known for their wood carvings. Ralph''s family includes about four prolific carvers, but Ralph is known for his small masks.

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Ed Simeon

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ed  Simeon Kwakwaka'wakw Campbell River, BC, CANADA, 1956
 
Ed Simeon was born in 1956 in Campbell River, British Columbia. He's part Kwagiulth on his mothers' side and Squamish on his fathers' side. Ed has apprenticed under such internationally known artist as Gene Brabant and Randy Stiglitz. Ed continues to study the traditional Kwagiulth designs and forms which are strongly depicted in his art, yet maintains a style distinctly his own. He's passionately devoted to his art as he feels that it will help to ensure the survival of his culture.

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Jay Simeon

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jay  Simeon Haida Fort MaCloud, AB, CANADA, 1976
 
Haida artist Jay Simeon, Eagle clan, was born afar from his Queen Charlotte homeland in Fort McCloud, Alberta, July 27, 1976.
 
Jay comes from a strong family tradition of storytelling. His grandmother told him myths, 'too many to name', which greatly inspired the passion for wood carving he developed by age five.
 
Under the tutelage of Sharon Yeltazie and her family, Jay has grown into a skilled Haida carver of spruce wood as well as the more typical cedars. He now lives in Vancouver and excels in his training as a silver engraver by renowned native jewellry-maker Dwayne Simeon (no relation).
 
Jay admits to having few outside interests aside his artwork and regularly spends 10-12 hours carving per day. This dedication is very evident in the first piece Jay brought to Hill's; an ornately carved spruce feasting dish, adorned with his grandmother''s Beaver crest on the outside and his personal crest, Killer Whale, on the bottom.

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Egesiak  Simionie

 

Artist First Nation Born
Egesiak  Simionie Inuit Lake Harbour, NU, CANADA, 1946
 
Egesiak Simionie was born on June 16, 1946 in Lake Harbour and now resides in Iqaluit on Baffin Island.
 
Egesiak is son of the late Simionie Kowjakoolook who is mentioned in George Swinton's book 'Sculpture of the Eskimo/Inuit' Page 195 Item 514.
 
Egesiak's work is very refined working the stone into very fine and slender lines. He is a person who has spent his younger years in closeness to the land and has a major knowledge of hunting, especially Bears. He knows how to survive on the land. It is interesting to note that his works never depict the harshness and ruggedness of the Arctic environment.
 
Egesiak has worked closely with Henry Evalardjuak and Davie Atchealak, two major Inuit artists who have achieved high recognition in their interpretation of the polar Bear.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

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Russell (Awasatlas) Smith

 

Artist First Nation Born
Russell (Awasatlas) Smith Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1950
 
Russell Smith was born March 19, 1950, Alert Bay. At the Northeast Coast of Vancouver Island, Alert Bay is part of the Kwakwaka''wakw territory that reaches the adjacent mainland and covers the many Islands in between. The Kwakwaka'wakw - 'speakers of Kwakwala' - or Kwakiutl nations, are the Northwest's masters of art and drama. They traditionally spent half their year living with family clans, and half the year within secret societies. These societies performed masked dances in winter ceremonies, which overshadowed the pageantry and spectacle of all the other potlatching nations of the pacific coast. In fact, the seclusion of the Kwakiutl's many inlets and island communities allowed Russell's people to continue potlatching in secret during Canada's oppressive ban of the potlatch from 1885 until 1951.
 
Russell is the direct descendant of six chieftain bloodlines. His mother, Elizabeth Abraham of the Thunderbird Clan, was a great maker of button blankets and a keeper of her family''s oral history and genealogy. She taught Russell and his brothers the traditions of Kwakiutl social order and language. Russell's paternal grandfather, Hope Island Chief Jerry Brown, was a historically noted Kwakiutl Chief. He was so faithful in his adherence to Kwakiutl tradition that he was arrested and imprisoned for potlatching in 1922.
 
Russell began woodcarving in 1968. Within a year Bill Holm, the renowned artist and leading authority on Northwest Coast Native Art, asked him to assist in the restoration of a southern Kwakiutl Longhouse at the Pacific Science Centre in Seattle which opened in 1971. In the early 1970's, with the encouragement of cousin Lloyd Wadhams, Russell began working with precious metals. During 1973-4 studied woodcarving under the instruction of Doug Cranmer and Larry Rosso at the Vancouver Museum. In 1977 he learned the art of repousses from Bill Reid, Gerry Marks, Phil Janze and the English goldsmith, Peter Page. He has gone on to create stunning pieces in gold, silver, and copper.
 
Russell has studied extensively the ancient and traditional designs of his Kwakiutl heritage. From a deep fountain of stories, songs, dances, legends, spirits, and mythical creatures, Russell recreates images in wood, ivory, paint, and precious metals. In each creation a vision stands revealed. Recording the History of the Kwakiutl in a perpetual re-enactment of natural order and harmony, Russell imprints his singular powerful style onto totem poles, masks, bowls, rattles, frontlets, drums, jewellry and canvas.
 
A number of apprentice carvers and jewellers have learned from Russell's inimitable style. He has a twenty-year collection of photographs and slides of the most exquisite pieces housed in museums and private collections throughout the continent; and, in his quiet and unassuming manner he generously and eagerly shares his knowledge of the art. Since earliest childhood, Russell participated in traditional dance forms. Now skilled in performing numerous masked dances and ceremonial songs, he has performed as far abroad as Japan. Today the works of Russell Smith are housed in private and public collections around the world.

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John  Spence

 

Artist First Nation Born
John  Spence Salish Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1970
 
John was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia on January 10, 1970. He is Salish from the Killer Whale clan.
 
He learned to carve wood first from Peter Charlie and Richard Baker. Having liked that he moved on to the fine work of jewellry carving. He learned the craft from renowned artist's Terrence Campbell and Stan Joseph.

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Robert Stanley

 

Artist First Nation Born
Robert  Stanley Tsimishian Kinclith, BC, CANADA
 
Robert Stanley was born in Kincolith along the Nass River in Northern British Columbia, Canada. He is a member of the Nishga/Tsimshian Nation and takes the Killerwhale as his family crest. Robert is part of an artistic family and joined his father, Murphy Stanley, in the late 1970's at an open air museum named 'Ksan, a representation of a Gitksan Village of the 1800's. This prestigious Native art school is located in Hazelton, British Columbia. 'Ksan is where Robert's father received his masters certificate in carving. Robert enjoys working in all mediums including wood, paper and especially silver and gold. Presently, Robert strictly carves semi and precious metals on a full-time basis.

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Virgil Stanley

 

Artist First Nation Born
Virgil Stanley Nisga'a  
 
Part of the Nisga'a Killer Whale Clan, Virgil Stanley was born April 12, 1957, in Arandale to the Sea Grizzly House. The Nisga'a are British Columbia's most Northern Group of Coastal Natives. Their traditional territory, the south of the Tlingit peoples of the Alaskan Panhandle, straddles the Nass River from its mouth into the North. They call the Nass Ayns Lisims, the 'river of milk'. It becomes white from the annual milt of spawning eulachon fish, mixing with the pure glacial melt in the narrow canyon rapids. Eulachon oil, used for both food and fuel, was one of the northwest coast's most valuable resources. Known as both gracious hosts to traders and fearsome warriors to invaders, the Nisga'a's history is as rich and splendid as their artistic traditions.
 
Virgil joined the ranks of Nisga'a artists over thirty years ago, mostly carving cedar, but also producing original prints, button blankets, and drums. His great talent became apparent while taking a high school drafting course. When only thirteen years old, Virgil was commissioned to design a totem pole for Mary Johnson, a sigabim'nak, or 'high-ranking woman' of his community.
 
After high school he enrolled in the exclusive ''Ksan school of coastal native art design, where he studied under the master artist Vernon Stephens. ''Ksan is a unique institution, located within a replica of a traditional Gitxsan village near Hazelton, on the upper reaches of the Skeena River, in North Central British Columbia. After his year at ''Ksan, he began working with his father, Murphy Stanley, a woodcarving instructor and internationally renowned Nisga''a artist. Further inspired by the Kwakiutl masks carved by the Moody and Dick Families of Alert Bay, Virgil seeks to use Native designs as a form of story telling. He also always remembers the advice of his elder, George Calootchie, who once told him that a good artist strives to portray how an animal acts within its own environment. Virgil takes this lesson to heart, applying it to his most recent designs for his wife's jewellry engraving.
 
Shirley Stanley was born July 21, 1965, in the Gitxsan village of Kitwancool to the Owl Clan holding the family crest of four owls in a tree, with the moon behind. The Gitxsan territories neighbor the Nisga'a to the southeast along the upper banks of the Skeena or Xsan, 'the river of mists'. Their traditional lands are a unique nexus between British Columbia's coast, interior, and north. This location not only made Gitxsan country an important center for trade and cross-cultural exchange among B.C.'s First Nations for thousands of years; it also isolated them from colonial Europeans until late 1860's. Buffered by the nations around them, the Gitxsan had been receiving blankets, cast iron pots, and guns in trade for more than half a century, with little need to come face to face with the 'ghost men' they had heard so much about.
 
Shirley studied art in high school, but began a jewellry apprenticeship under Murphy Stanley after she married Virgil in 1983. She also makes beautiful button blankets and vests, and carves totem poles with Murphy. Virgil and Shirley have four children. Their youngest, Virgil Jr. has already chosen to inherit his mother''s engraving tools and carry on his family's artistic legacy.

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Terry Starr

 

Artist First Nation Born
Terry  Starr Tsimishian Port Simpson, BC, CANADA, 1951
 
Terry Starr was born in March 1951. He is from the Gispax Laats Tribe of the Tsimshian Nation. It is an Eagle clan. Terry's mother was from Kitsumkalum, and his father was from Laxkwalaams, or the town of Port Simpson. The Tsimshian Nation is located halfway north up the British Columbia coast, directly east of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Currently Terry lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 
In 1982, Terry purchased two adzes and three knives, his first carving tools. He began by making local sales of his work to various Victoria art galleries that purchased Native Art.
 
In 1984, he sat and learned carving techniques from Richard Hunt, master Kwagiulth artist at Thunderbird Park and the British Columbia Provincial Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. Terry assisted Richard Hunt in carving a thirty-foot Kwagiulth totem pole, which was shipped to Expo '89 in Australia.
 
Terry's work has been seen in various art shows and exhibitions around North America. He has been commissioned to paint screens and logos for businesses and museums, and has done carving demonstrations at museums. He works in a wide range of mediums, including woodcarvings of various kinds, massive screens, and drums.
 
Twice he has been contracted to construct a full-scale replica of a traditional Tsimshian Bighouse. For both of these projects, he has hired and trained a crew of carvers. One was for a museum, and the other was onsite at a village

           

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Art Sterrit

 

Artist First Nation Born
Art  Sterrit Tsimishian  
Art Sterrit, a master Tsimshian artist of the 'Ksan school, is a member of the Eagle clan of Gitga'ata. 'Ksan is a model traditional Gitxtsan village standing where previous villages have stood for thousands of years near Hazelton in north central British Columbia. Within its exclusive and distinguished Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art, Art studied as a young man in the 1970's.
 
As he is intimately familiar with traditional Tsimshian art forms, Sterrit allows himself the freedom to transcend the highly stylistic, formal quality of the older techniques, which he does in order to illustrate legends.
 
A natural storyteller, he listens long and well to the grandfathers and grandmothers of 'Ksan as they recall old stories. His people lived far from the early routes of the settlers and missionaries on the upper reaches of the Skeena, so the elders still hold much knowledge of the history and legends. In addition to designing and printing his own graphics, Sterrit is equally at ease with any assignment in sculpture, from intricate dance masks to sixty foot totem poles.
 
As vice president of the 'Ksan Association, he is very active in the volunteer citizen's group who organized the remarkable 'Ksan native arts and culture center.

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Randy Stiglitz

 

Artist First Nation Born
Randy  Stiglitz Salish Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 1953
 
Randy Stiglitz is a native of Vancouver, British Columbia. He was born of Cree descent on August 17, 1953. Through his interest in the Native arts, he moved to the Capilano Indian reservation at the age of seventeen. After spending five years there, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia where he worked under the direction of Gene Brabant. The genius of Stiglitz' art is in his mask carving.

              

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Fred Stinton

 

Artist First Nation Born
Fred  Stinton Metis Montreal, QC, CANADA, 1957
 
Fred Stinton was born June 19, 1957 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A Metis, Fred was taught Haida-style carving under the instruction of Tsoona Stella, George Storry and Ray Hanuse in 1989.
 
Fred works mostly in red cedar and alder, specializing in Sun and Moon masks depicting Eagles and Ravens.
Currently he lives in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, where he continues to produce finely crafted Haida art.

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George Storry

 

Artist First Nation Born
George  Storry Haida Massett, BC, CANADA, 1953
 
George Storry was born in Masset, British Columbia, in 1953 on the Queen Charlotte Islands. He's a member of the Haida Nation and belongs to the Eagle clan.
 
George is a direct descendent of the noted Edenshaw family which is perhaps the most well known and respected of Haida artists. Carrying on in the tradition of his ancestors, George creates classical Haida carvings that reflect his rich cultural heritage.

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Carl Stromquist

 

Artist First Nation Born
Carl  Stromquist   1969
 
Born in 1969, Carl Stromquist is of Thompson descent and is currently (1996) living in Hope, British Columbia. He's been strongly influenced by several Northwest Coast Native traditions and cultures. Carl is deliberate in his desire to paint with excellence. He's focused in his quest to earn visions that will generate artwork which honours his gift of life and the richness, depth and teachings of Canada's First Nations. Being self-taught, Carl has spent time studying the works of renowned Native artisans as well as the timeless truths embodied in the elder's stories and legends. From this journey of truth has come his intent to portray the balance and harmony that exists in the circle of life. Carl's art is influenced by his profound love and respect for nature. As Carl states; 'If we give back to the circle, the circle will remain strong'.

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August Sylvester

 

Artist First Nation Born
August  Sylvester Salish Kuper Island, BC, CANADA, 1945
 
August Sylvester was born in 1945 on Kuper Island, British Columbia, Canada, which is located in the southern region of the province, inhabited by the Coast Salish Nation. August apprenticed under his grandfather, Jimmy John, a well known Northwest Coast Native artist originally from Nanaimo. He began carving as a youngster and only in the past two years (1995) has been carving on a full-time basis. Presently, August carves yellow and red cedar wood totem poles, plaques, bowls and masks. August is avidly contributing to the preservation of the Northwest Coast Native culture.

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Tommy  Takpannie Jr.

 

Artist First Nation Born
Tommy  Takpannie Jr. Inuit Iqaluit, NT, CANADA, 1964
 
Tommy Takpannie Jr. was born on March 31, 1964 in Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut Territory.
 
His mother is Tikisa and his father is Tommy Takpannie Sr.
 
Tommy Jr. was educated at Nanook School in Apex, a satellite community situated three miles from Iqaluit. He then went to G.R.S.C. school, now called Inukahuk High School, in Iqaluit, where he completed Grade 9 when he was fifteen.
 
Tommy Jr. comes from a family of carvers. Tommy Sr., his father, is well known for his polar Bear sculptures and Pauloosie his brother is also known for his polar Bear sculptures. Mary, their sister is a very good carver also.
 
Tommy Jr. worked on the garbage and water trucks when he left school before the. whole family went to Henry's camp, outside of Cape Dorset in 1980. Tommy says, like Pauloosie, that he learned from Henry as he watched him carve.
 
In 1986, Tommy Jr. moved into Cape Dorset with the rest of his family and lived there for eight years.
 
He is married to Kooyoo, from Cape Dorset and they have four children: Pitseola - 3, Tommy - 6 whom they look after;  Kiatsuk - 5 who is looked after by Tommy Sr. and Tikisa; Appa - 9 who is looked after by Kooyoo's mother in Cape Dorset.
 
Tommy Jr. is full-time carver and carves mainly Bears of all sizes, like the rest of his family.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

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Tommy  Takpannie Sr.

 

Artist First Nation Born
Tommy  Takpannie Sr. Inuit Cape Dorset, NU, CANADA, 1934
 
Tommy Takpannie Sr. was born in 1934 near Cape Dorset and Lake Harbour area. His father was the famous Noah, known respectfully as 'old Noah' who died in 1975.
 
His brothers are well known carvers also - Peter Salamonie and Napatchie Noah.
 
Tommy Sr. was brought up in the Inuit traditional way and was well known as a good hunter in his earlier years. Since the late 1980's Tommy and his family have lived in both Iqaluit and Cape Dorset. In 1991 he was given a newly built house in Iqaluit thus making the decision to live permanently with his family in this town on Baffin Island. Iqaluit was previously known as Frobisher Bay.
 
Previous to this, in the 1970's and early '80's Tommy lived with his family in a camp at Markham Bay which is situated on the southern shores of Baffin Island, Nunavut Territory. Henry Evaluardiuk and his family were also living in the same camp at that time.
 
He has two sons, Pauloosie and Tommy Takpannie, Jr. and a daughter, Mary, all of whom carve.
 
Pauloosie also has gained some recognition in his sculptural work of masks and Bears.
Tommy is known for his sculptures of polar Bears. Although not a prolific carver, his works are sought after by collectors.
 
Compiled by Helen Webster
Copyright Arts Induvik Canada Inc.

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Marvin  Tallio

 

Artist First Nation Born
Marvin  Tallio Nuxalk Bella Bella, BC, CANADA, 1966
 
Marvin Tallio was born in 1966 in Bella Bella, in British Columbia, Canada. Marvin is part of the Bella Coola Nation, also known as Nuxalk, and takes the Killerwhale, Grizzly Bear and Eagle as his family crests. Marvin began carving small plaques as a youngster in 1973. In 1985, while attending the vancouver native education centre, Marvin studied jewellry design under west coast master Derek Wilson. Marvin is versed in all mediums of design including originals, printmaking, silver and gold design and wood carving. Marvin''s work has found an appreciative audience and can be found in collections around the world.

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Emile Thibert

 

Artist First Nation Born
Emile  Thibert Saulteaux Winnipeg, MB, CANADA, 1962
 
Emile Thibert was born in 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a member of the Saulteaux Nation, a tribe that mainly inhabits the eastern region of Canada. Although Emile is not of Northwest Coast descent, he has always been interested in the culture. In July 1994, Emile had the opportunity to apprentice under Carl Simeon, a prominent Northwest Coast artist who is a member of the Kwagiulth Nation. Carl's intricate and detailed style greatly influenced Emile and has shown through in his carving style.

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Robert Thomas

 

Artist First Nation Born
Robert  Thomas Salish Mission, BC, CANADA, 1969
 
Robert was born into the Coast Salish Nation in Mission, British Columbia in 1969, and takes the Bear as his family crest. Robert began carving in 1990 inspired by the works of fellow native artists Dennis Leon and George Pennier. He specializes in masks and paddles and is recognized for his attention to detail and how quickly he has picked up the art. Robert dances, canoes and carves in an attempt to preserve the integrity of his native culture and heritage.

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Allen Thompson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Allen  Thompson Saulteaux Ebb and Flow, MB, CANADA, 1962
 
Allen Thompson was born in 1962 in Ebb and Flow, Manitoba, located in the mid-region of Canada. Although Allen is of Sealteaux descent, he grew up with the influence of the west coast culture. He began carving in 1987 under the expert guidance of Derek Wilson, Henry Robertson, and his brother, Kelvin Thompson. Allen is trained in carving wood and precious metals. His designs, whether in gold, silver or wood, reflects Allen's attention to detail and superb craftsmanship. Allen is very aware of his Native culture and hopes that, through his artwork, he is able to help preserve the Northwest Coast Native culture for future generations.

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Kelvin Thompson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Kelvin  Thompson Saulteaux Ebb and Flow, MB, CANADA,1958
 
Kelvin Thompson was born November 5, 1958 in Ebb and Flow, Manitoba, which is located in the mid-region of Canada. Kelvin has been carving since 1978. He worked with Barry Wilson on wooden panels for the Vancouver Indian Centre. In the early 80's Kelvin worked with Derek Wilson carving silver and gold jewellry and he apprenticed with Henry Robertson working on totem poles and panels, which are on display at the Vancouver Indian Centre. Although Kelvin is of Sealteaux descent, he grew up with the influence of west coast people. Henry Robertson, Barry Wilson and Derek Wilson are of the Henaaksiala people, a branch of the Haisla First Nation. Kelvin was adopted into this family. Kelvin's designs, whether in gold, silver, ivory or wood, reflect his attention to detail and superb craftsmanship.

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Garnet Tobacco

 

Artist First Nation Born
Garnet  Tobacco Cree Moose Lake, MB, CANADA, 1964
 
Garnet Tobacco was born in 1964 at Moose Lake, Manitoba, 400 miles north of Winnipeg. He comes from a family of five children and is full-blooded Cree. Like many Native-Canadian artists, Garnet is self-taught and his works seem to be much more vital and alive than many schooled artists. He combines brilliant colours with smooth flowing lines to produce works of great visual appeal. They are known to be in collections in Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada and the United States. Garnet Tobacco is one of a growing number of young aboriginal artists destined to revitalize, by visual expression, the cultural aspirations of the Native peoples of Canada.

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Lloyd Wadhams

 

Artist First Nation Born
Lloyd  Wadhams Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1967
 
Lloyd Wadhams Jr. was born in 1967 in Alert Bay, off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island, to Lloyd and Virginia Wadhams. He is a member of the Kwagiulth Nation and already belonged to a family who were prominent and proven Northwest Coast carvers. He reveals that it was only natural he follow in their footsteps, beginning to make native artwork as a teenager. Lloyd presently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Lloyd began carving wood yet, presently, strictly carves silver and gold jewellry. His distinct Kwagiulth style is avidly collected by tourists and locals alike.

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Willie Wadhams

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Willie  Wadhams Kwakwaka'wakw Alert Bay, BC, CANADA, 1966
 
Willie Wadhams, a Kwagiulth of the Kwakiutl People, was born in 1966 at Alert Bay, British Columbia. He takes the Thunderbird and Sisiutl (double-headed sea serpent) as his family crests.
 
In 1985, he carved under the guidance of his uncle, Ray Wadhams. Willie reveals that his family members who are prominent northwest coast carvers inspired him.
 
Through his artwork, he's trying to help preserve and bring awareness to his native culture. His carvings are shown in select northwest coast galleries and private collections worldwide.

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Rueben Wallace

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rueben  Wallace Haida Mount Currie, BC, CANADA, 1952
 
Rueben Wallace was born in 1952 in Mount Currie, British Columbia, Canada. He is a member of the Haida and Kwaguilth Nations, which inhabit the Southern regions of the province.
 
Rueben began carving wood over twenty years ago, and eighteen years ago he was taught to use jewellry carving tools by Denny Dixon, a well known Haida Argillite carver.
 
Presently Rueben paints, carves wood, silver and gold. He is one of many Northwest Coast artists who is preserving the carving traditions of his ancestry for future generations.

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Stan Wamiss

 

Artist First Nation Born
Stan  Wamiss Kwakwaka'wakw Gilford Island, BC, CANADA, 1947
 
Stan Wamiss was born in 1947 in Gilford Island, and raised in Kingcome Inlet, a small fishing community on the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. His father was carver and canoe builder, Tom Patch Wamiss who has some pieces exhibited in museums.
 
Born into the Tsawataneuk Band, Stan takes the Wolf which is revered for its hunting skills as his family crest.
 
Stan credits the book Smokey Top with inspiring him to begin carving 1975 at the suggestion of his sister, Dorothy Speck. Stan prefers to work in the soft red cedar local to British Columbia and carves superb masks, totems, sculptures, plaques and talking sticks.
 
He continues his life-long passion as a builder of canoes and carver of life-size totems, while residing in British Columbia.

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Dalbert Weir

 

Artist First Nation Born
Dalbert  Weir Haida Massett, BC, CANADA, 1941
 
In 1941, Dalbert Weir was born in the village of Masset on the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. His forefathers in the maternal line were of the Raven clan. As a child, he spent many hours watching fine Haida craftsmen carving Argillite and wood. The beauty and perfection of their work made a deep impression on him. Later, Dalbert had the opportunity to study the principles of northwest coast design at the 'Ksan', the first native art school located near Hazelton, British Columbia. His attention to perfecting his craft makes each piece a work of art.

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Ray Wesley

 

Artist First Nation Born
Ray  Wesley Tsimishian Port Essington, BC, CANADA, 1935
 
Ray Wesley was born January 19, 1935 in Port Essington, near Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada. This area is representative of the Tsimshian Nation, a tribe that inhabits the northern coast of the province. Ray takes the Black Fish, a commonly depicted northern motif, as his family crest. Ray has been carving for over forty years (1995). He lists, Wilfred Stevenson, a prominent Northwest Coast Native artist, as his teacher and inspiration. Ray carves in such mediums as wood, silver and gold, ivory and he does silk-screen prints. Presently, Ray resides on Vancouver Island and through his carvings preserves the art of his ancestors for future generations.

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Jerry Whitehead

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jerry  Whitehead Cree James Smith Band, SK, CANADA, 1957
 
Born in 1957 and raised in Saskatchewan, Jerry Whitehead is a Cree from the James Smith Band.
 
Native dancers inspired him in early childhood which is evident in Jerry's paintings through his use of movement and color.
 
In 1983, Jerry received a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Regina (Indian Art S.I.F.C.), and in 1987 he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia Collage of Arts and Design in Halifax.
 
Throughout the years, he has been involved in various activities as an exhibition coordinator, workshop leader, illustrator and teaching assistant.
 
His murals can be seen at the University Hospital in Saskatoon, and other works have been exhibited throughout North America. In this way, his native culture has been given a voice. He presently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Cheryl (White Eagle) Williams

 

Artist First Nation Born
Cheryl (White Eagle) Williams Salish  
 
Cheryl Williams lives on the Mission Native Reserve in North Vancouver, and is a member of the Squamish Tribe of the Coast Salish Nation.
 
She likes to work with beads, preferring to work with antique beads made in the 1800's and collects them wherever she can find them. They are smaller than the beads made today and come in colours that are no longer available. Some of older beads are made of steel. Cheryl makes jewellry, belts and purses, as well as some bone necklaces. She also beads decoration onto sweetgrass baskets.
 
Wall hangings made from deer hide, feathers and bone are another of her crafts. This is a contemporary Native art form and many of her hangings are in the hands of collectors. One was even purchased by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
 
Her husband, Frank White Eagle, taught her how to bead when she, along with other Native women, took a course on Native crafts at the band office on the Mission Reserve. Cheryl is now teaching her daughters how to bead.

      

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Harvey Williams

 

Artist First Nation Born
Harvey  Williams Nuu-chah-nulth Vancouver Island, BC, CANADA, 1952
 
Harvey Williams was born in 1952, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Harvey is part of the Nuu-cha-nulth (Nootka) Nation of the Pacific Northwest Coast Natives. Nuu-cha-nulth means 'people along the islands'. Harvey is from a well-known family of carvers who have distinguished themselves with their colourful totem poles. Harvey began to carve totems as a boy, and later branched off into silver and gold. Harvey brings to his metal work the graphic style of his family and the Nuu-cha-nulth people.

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Nancy Williams

 

Artist First Nation Born
Nancy  Williams Nuu-chah-nulth Ditidaht Reservation, BC, CANADA, 1958
 
Nancy Williams was born September 18th, 1958 on the Ditidaht Reservation, located on Vancouver Island, off the southern coast of British Columbia, Canada. A member of the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) Nation, Nancy takes the Raven, revered as the creator and hero, as her family crest. Nancy began carving at the age of nine under her father, Ray Williams. She began carving such items as masks, plaques, talking sticks and totem poles. Nancy as well learned to bead from her mother. Nancy comes from a family of long-time carvers who specialize in intricately carved totem poles. A mother of five children, Nancy still has time to carve her intricate totem poles that are sought after by avid collectors of northwest coast native artwork.

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Rita Williams

 

Artist First Nation Born
Rita  Williams Nuu-chah-nulth  
 
Rita Williams is in her early forties (1995), and was born into the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, a tribe that inhabits the Western Coast of Vancouver Island.
 
She's a part of a larger family of carvers whose tradition spans 90 years. Rita is the eldest of three sisters who have been carving for over 20 years.
 
Rita reveals that mainly she taught herself to carve while watching her older brothers' techniques. Her specialty is in intricately carved Totem Poles that are sought after by collectors worldwide.
 
The dedication she invests in carving is a part of her livelihood, and to preserve the traditions of her ancestors.

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Sanford Williams

 

 

Artist First Nation Born
Sanford  Williams Nuu-chah-nulth Friendly Cove, BC, CANADA, 1967
 
Nuu-chah-nulth artist Sanford Williams was born on March 9, 1967, at Friendly Cove on the south tip of Nootka Island, in his hometown of Yuquot. It was at this historic location where Sanford's Mowachaht (Deer People) First Nation made first contact with the British Captain Cook in 1778, marking the beginning of British Columbia's history. His Nuu-chah-nulth ancestors were renowned for their bravery, risking their lives hunting the great migrating whales from dugout canoes on the wild West Coast.
 
As a young teen Sanford Williams dreamt of becoming a master woodcarver like his grandfather, the legendary Jimmy John. He completed a two year course at the distinguished Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art, located within the model traditional Gitxsan village of 'Ksan. 'Ksan stands where previous villages have been for thousands of years, near the modern town of Hazelton in north central British Columbia. There he studied and mastered the Tsimshian style of the region.
 
Since then he has carved masks, small poles, rattles, plaques, bentwood boxes and panels. Sanford also worked on two ten-foot poles with 'Ksan master artists Ken Mowat and Vernon Stephens. One pole was donated to the Wilp Si'Satxw Healing Centre in Kitwanga. He also donated a valuable mask to raise funds for the Gitxsan Wet'suwet''en Tribal Council's Land Claim.

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Williams Family

 

Artist First Nation Born
Williams Family Nuu-chah-nulth  
The Williams Family is part of Nuu-cha-nulth (nootka) Nation - a tribe that inhabits the Western Coast of Vancouver Island. The name Nootka means 'People of the Islands'.
 
Within this large family of twelve members, seven carve on a full-time basis and make it their livelihood. A William's totem pole is characterized by bright traditional colours of green, yellow, red, brown, white and black. Heads are large with blank eyes staring straight ahead.
 
Unlike totem poles carved in one piece, a Willams' pole will feature add-on bits such as sun rays, whale fins, wings or beaks.
 
The Thunderbird - a high ranging prestige crest - dominates the top of almost all their pieces. These figures represent supernatural beings with frightening overtones, who are known to live hidden inside their houses or nearby in the forest.

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Willie Brothers

 

Artist First Nation Born
Willie Brothers Kwakwaka'wakw Gilford Island, BC, CANADA

 

Alex and Demsey Willie were born in the Kwagiulth village of Guilford Island, off the eastern shore of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Alex, the older of the two, was born in 1955 and Demsey in 1956.

While they were growing up, they learned how to carve by watching their grandfather, the late Mr. Jack James, Sr. Their mother's name was Joyce Willie. While she was still alive, she used to make blankets, aprons, and all of her own dolls.

In the early 1980s, they found inspiration as apprentices to their cousin, master carver Jackson Robertson from Kingcome Inlet. At the time their home was Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island; however, the training took place in Nanaimo, a small city about an hour's drive north of Victoria.

They use pine mostly for their work, which they carve right in Gastown. Throughout the store and in collections around the world, plaques by the Willies can be easily recognized and appreciated. Demsey has carved just about everything, including talking sticks, paddles, masks, totem poles, plaques, and bowls.

Since the introduction of western culture, Kwagiulth artists have been incorporating new and inventive methods and designs, which are certainly reflected in art by the Willies. Brightly colored crest figures with bold lines adorn most of their carvings. They have an especially distinctive style, which is sought after by tourists and collectors alike.

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Bill Wilson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Bill  Wilson Kwakwaka'wakw Fort Rupert, BC, CANADA,1940
 
Bill Wilson, a Kwagiulth of the Kwakiutl Nation, was born in Fort Rupert in the 1940's. Like many other carvers, Bill already belonged to a family of prominent carvers and it was only natural to take up the carving. Bill prefers to work with the soft cedar found in British Columbia.

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Derek Wilson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Derek  Wilson Kwakwaka'wakw Kemano, BC, CANADA, 1950
 
Derek Wilson was born in 1950 in Kemano, British Columbia, a Kwaguilth Native and member of the Haisla Nation. He takes the Killer Whale as his family crest.
 
Derek began carving wood at the age of eight under the guidance of his uncle and well-known artist, Henry Robertson. By the time he was carving in gold and silver, his preferred medium, he was expertly weaving together his technical skill with the wonderous Kwaguilth stories he fed on as a child.
 
His attention to detail, intricacy and innovation has set him apart as one of the most prominent Northwest Coast Native jewellry artists.
Derek's work is on display in galleries throughout the Northwest Coast, including Hill's Native Art.

    

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Joe Wilson

 

Artist First Nation Born
Joe  Wilson Salish Koksilah, BC, CANADA, 1967
 
Born in 1967, Joe Wilson is a talented young Coast Salish artist born in Koksilah, near Duncan on Vancouver Island. He's a member of the Cowichan Band.
 
His interest in art began in elementary school. Joe first caved at seventeen and is basically self-taught, although he worked under the guidance and was influenced by such talented artists as Simon Charlie, Tim Paul and Jim Gilbert. He has studied Salish art extensively through literature and museum collections. Joe is actively involved in the winter dance ceremonies of his people.
 
A soft-spoken young man, his work speaks of confidence and strength, and he has developed a unique and original style with bold and unconventional colors that are rich and appealing. His work is authentic by Native tradition and also an artistic communication link between cultures.
 
He currently resides on the Tsartlip reserve near Victoria where he continues to paint and carve cedar.

           

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Jim Yelton

 

Artist First Nation Born
Jim  Yelton Salish Squamish, BC, CANADA, 1955
 
In 1955, Jim Yelton was born in Squamish, British Columbia. He's a member of the Coast Salish Nation, a tribe that inhabits the southern tip of B.C. Jim lists his father, Michael Yelton, as his teacher from who he learned so much about Native traditions relating to his cultural background. For over 25 years, he has been carving cedar wood and specializes in plaques, masks, bowls, paddles and talking sticks to name a few. He presently resides in Vancouver and continues to carve on a part-time basis.

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Cecil Youngfox

 

Artist First Nation Born
Cecil  Youngfox Ojibwa Blind River, ON, CANADA, 1942
 
Cecil Youngfox was born in 1942 in Blind River, Ontario of Ojibway and Metis parents. Throughout his brief success, he established himself as one of Canada's leading native artists. He was renowned for his vivid, sensitive images of native cultural traditions. Even today, his strong imaginative vision remains and draws respect and interest from private and public collectors throughout the world. By his untimely death in 1987, he had many honours bestowed on him including the Aboriginal Order of Canada for his work in preserving native heritage.

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Artist First Nation Born
     
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