Jul 122015
First Nations Mask

Calvin Morberg, Medicine Man Inuit Gallery, Vancouver

Tlingit artist Calvin Morberg is one of a group exhibiting at Vancouver’s Inuit Gallery in Gastown.

The group, the Northern Cultural Expressions Society, was established in 2008 to support the development of First Nations carving traditions through its workshops and educational programs. Open to youths of all backgrounds, the carving program has become an integral part of the arts community in Whitehorse, Yukon, with several major commissions credited to the program as well as individual work by student carvers.

The Inuit Gallery exhibition, Carving Our Path, includes work by mentors Calvin Morberg and Jared Kane, and sculptures by student carvers. The show opens with a reception with artists attending on July 11, and runs to July 31, 2015.

The Inuit Gallery is exhibiting work by Kwakwaka’wakwartist Rande Cook from July 25 to August 21, 2015. His exhibition, Behind the Golden Veil, will launch with a reception on July 25; the artist will be present from 2-4 pm. For more, see http://inuit.com

Feb 052015

Chris Paul, The Transformation Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria

Metamorphosis, an exhibition of new work by Coast Salish artist Chris Paul and Tlingit artist Mark Preston will be held by the Alcheringa Gallery but at Victoria’s historic Union Club.

The artists use the print medium to express their own personal stories about the joining of traditional and contemporary art-making, the past and the present, and the transformation of the self, as well as allowing their works to relate to one another and exhibit a relationship between their two cultures within the context of design from the Northwest Coast.

The Union Club, at 805 Gordon Street in downtown Victoria, will be open to the public who wish to view the show from 2 to 4 pm every day.

See http://www.alcheringa-gallery.com

Aug 072014

Chris Paul, Sister Swans, panel Alcheringa Gallery

The Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria has opened Where I Come From, a two-artist show of work by long-time friends Coast Salish artist Chris Paul and Tlingit Mark Preston, exploring “themes of ancestry, tradition and family through contemporary abstractions using paper, wood, glass, metal and serigraphy.” The exhibition continues until August 23, 2014. http://www.alcheringa-gallery.com


May 152014

Anisalaga (Mary Ebbets Hunt), Chilkat Blanket, 1880’s, at the U’mista Cultural Centre Photo: Marina Dodis

In the nineteenth century Anisalaga, aka Mary Ebbets, the daughter of a Tlingit chief met and married Hudson’s Bay trader Robert Hunt, and settled in Kwakwaka’wakw territory at Fort Rupert BC. She brought with her the tradition and rights to weave “Chilkat” blankets. Anisalaga wove thirteen blankets during her life, most as legacy gifts for her thirteen children. Her descendants include many of the best-known Kwakwaka’wakw artists.

In the summer of 2013 an event was held in Fort Rupert to commemorate her memory. The program included a display of artifacts related to Anisalaga’s life, a feast and a public discussion among her descendants about her importance to them. A film of this event was created by artist Corrine Hunt.

February 2014: When an Ottawa curator noticed that a Anisalaga blanket was coming up for auction in Paris, one which had been photographed by Edward Curtis in the early twentieth century, the U’mista Centre was immediately informed. The Paris auction, however, was the next day. Fortunately, the blanket remained unsold at auction. Afterwards money was hurriedly raised by the Centre to purchase it from its American owner.

In March 2014, an event at the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay BC celebrated the acquisition and return of that long-lost Paris Chilkat blanket woven by Anisalaga. The welcoming event can be viewed in a short Vimeo film at: http://vimeo.com/66285019

April 2014: With assistance from the Bill Holm Center at the Burke Museum in Seattle, a group from the U’mista Centre visited the Autry Museum in Los Angeles. Two Chilkat blankets by Anisalaga are in that collection. Details of one of the blankets can be seen at: http://collections.theautry.org/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=record&id=M225625&type=101

Feb 012014

Tlingit Eagle War Helmet

An update: The Tlingit Eagle War Helmet discovered in a Massachusetts museum storage vault, mis-attributed for more than 100 years (see The Beat January 2014), will stay in the news for some time yet. The Springfield Science Museum has already begun the repatriation notification process.

More information is at the website of the Alaska Dispatch at http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20140107/emergence-rare-tlingit-war-helmet-come-calls-bring-artifact-home

and at Victoria archaeologist Quentin Mackie’s blog, at http://qmackie.com/2013/12/18/tlingit-war-helmet-rediscovered-after-100-years/#comment-7495


Feb 012014

David Boxley carving a cedar chest for the Tinaa auction

Sealaska Heritage Institute will hold a Tinaa Art Auction on February 1, 2014, at Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska. Works have been donated by David Boxley, Robert Davidson, Delores Churchill and Nathan Jackson and many others.

Tinaa is the Tlingit word for a traditional copper shield, a symbol of wealth and trade. The event is patterned on the Santa Fe Indian market. “Santa Fe is a community where the whole town is decorated with Native art. And I think what it’s done for the community is really promoted an appreciation of Native art and Native people, and I think that’s what we’re hopeful of creating here in Juneau,” said SHI President Rosita Worl.

Funds raised are to support the building of the Walter Soboleff Center currently under construction in Juneau, which will house art programs, collections, exhibitions, and community activities.



Apr 062013
group in front of house (sepia image)

The dedication of the Chief Shakes House replica built in 1940. The original house was erected in the early 19th century.

Dedication ceremonies are scheduled to begin on May 3, 2013 at Shakes Island near Wrangell, Alaska. The new Chief Shakes Tribal House has been built to replace an earlier replication of an original 19th century house of a powerful Tlingit chief; all have had an imposing image of the chief’s “Brown Bear” crest. Related poles have also been restored. Follow the preparations in the dedicated blog at


The people of Shakes Island are preparing a repatriation request for the Bear crest Chief Shakes house partition taken from the original house, and now in the collection of the Denver Art Museum.


Apr 012012
Mayor Lew Williams and Cara Wallace, KIC Tribal Education Director. Photo courtesy KIC

Mayor Lew Williams and Cara Wallace, KIC Tribal Education Director. Photo courtesy KIC

The city of Ketchikan Alaska has designated April 1 to 7 2012 as Honoring Our Speakers Week, and are holding events to give special tribute to the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian fluent speakers in the tribal community there. A film The Linguists will be screened on April 3, about linguists David Harrison and Gregory Anderson who are “scientists racing to document languages on the verge of distinction”. http://www.thelinguists.com

Dec 072011
Joe David/Preston Singletary Shrine Figures.  Photo: Ann Cameron

Joe David/Preston Singletary Shrine Figures. Photo: Ann Cameron

Ka Ka Win Chealth: Joe David & Preston Singletary is an exhibition at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver until December 10 2011. The title of the exhibition is the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth family name given to Joe David meaning Orca Transforming or Wolf Transforming into Killer Whale.

Joe David has worked with Tlingit artist Preston Singletary at the Pilchuk Glass School near Seattle since 2000. The group of Shrine Figures illustrated above refers to the Yuquot Whalers’ Shrine, a ritual structure with figures traditionally used in the spiritual preparations for whale hunts.

The Gallery has published a striking and well-illustrated catalogue of the exhibition. For more information see http://www.spiritwrestler.com

Dec 072011
Chilkat Blanket sold at Bonham’s San Francisco auction Dec. 6

Chilkat Blanket sold at Bonham’s San Francisco auction Dec. 6

Bonham’s last Native American Art auction on June 6 2011 brought in more than $2 million dollars in sales. Its San Francisco auction on December 5 2011 resulted in some interesting prices: a Chilkat blanket sold for $43,750, a Tlingit polychrome basket sold for $2,125.

For other items, see http://www.bonhams.com

Oct 092011

The Sealaska Institute regularly presents lectures about First Nations issues, history and art from an Alaskan perspective, which are then made available to the public on the web as videos.

In a recent talk, Emily Moore, a visiting scholar at the Sealaska Institute, spoke about her research on the Totem Parks of Southeast Alaska. She discussed Southeast Alaska totem poles that were made or restored during the Great Depression and shows a 1949 newsreel about the project that was recently rediscovered. The 11-minute film is titled Timber and Totem Poles and was produced by the U.S. Forest Service. Moore is interested in contacting carvers or their relatives in Tlingit and Haida communities who remember someone who worked on the New Deal totem parks, or who has further information on the carving project.

Sep 062011
Israel Shotridge

Israel Shotridge

The exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves closed on August 14 2011. (See the excellent SAM website at: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibit/interactives/Quileute/index.html ).

(Twilight is a series of fictional books and movies, aimed at young people and involving werewolves, which has brought popular attention and tourists to the community; the hero of the series is ostensibly a community member.)

Recently Israel Shotridge, a Tlingit master carver, has undertaken to carve poles and an entrance archway for the Quileute Cemetery in LaPush, Washington, commissioned by the Quileute community leaders.


Mar 162011
Wolf Hat 1989  Coll. James Sherman  Photo: Russell Johnson

Wolf Hat 1989 Coll. James Sherman Photo: Russell Johnson

The survey exhibition of 52 works by Tlingit artist Preston Singletary, shown at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington last summer, will open at the Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center in New York on March 19 2011.
Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows includes the Clan House, a monumental glass sculpture of the interior of a Tlingit longhouse, and a large wall mural created by the artist especially for this installation of the show.

Singletary is exhibiting his newest pieces at the Traver Gallery in Tacoma in Contents of a Dream to April 17 2011. See http://www.travergallery.com

His work can also be seen in Cultural Confluence: Urban People of Asian and Native American Heritages, a group show at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Cultural Experience in Seattle until September 18 2011. See http://www.wingluke.org

Mar 162011

Imaginary Indian (right) and Raven and the First Immigrant, works by Nicholas Galanin on view at the Trench Gallery. Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

Imaginary Indian (right) and Raven and the First Immigrant, works by Nicholas Galanin on view at the Trench Gallery. Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG

Tlingit artist Nicholas Galanin’s show New Culture, conceptual work from the last five years, is at the Trench Gallery in Vancouver until April 9 2011. The gallery is at #102-148 Alexander Street. See http://www.trenchgallery.com