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Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl)

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Beau Dick: Devoured by Consumerism
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Accompanying an exhibition of Beau Dick’s work, this beautifully illustrated volume distills his powerful argument against our unsustainable way of living.

"With this body of work, Beau intended to launch his most overt critique of a system that he knew was unsustainable, in favour of a return to the cultural values of his people, and his profound generosity compelled him to share these values as widely as possible." - LaTiesha Fazakas

Beau Dick (1955 - 2017) was celebrated far beyond his hometown of Alert Bay, B.C., for both his political activism and his creation of striking, larger-than-life carved masks inspired by the traditional stories of the Kwakwaka'wakw. Dick's multi-faceted engagement with Kwakwaka'wakw culture included carving (which he learned from Northwest Coast artists such as Henry Hunt, Doug Cranmer, and Bill Reid), storytelling, and dancing.

As a high-ranking member of Hamat'sa, the prestigious Kwakwaka'wakw secret society centred on the story of a ravenous, man-eating spirit, Dick drew on all these art forms to create regalia for and participate in elaborate ceremonies that enacted Kwakwaka'wakw cosmology. Devoured by Consumerism shares nearly two dozen of these masks: vivid, unforgettable creations, made with traditional and contemporary methods and materials, depicting figures like Cannibal Raven, Nu-Tla-Ma (Fool Dancer), and Bookwus (Wild Man of the Woods).

Texts by LaTiesha Fazakas, John Cussans, and Candice Hopkins outline the stories that the masks depict, consider the inescapable parallels between Hamat'sa and the consumerism of capitalist society, and grapple with the philosophy that animates Hamat'sa - one that seeks to confront and, ultimately, master the voracious appetites inside us all.

Educator Information
A useful book for the study of art and culture.

Devoured by Consumerism is Beau Dick's aesthetic response to Western capitalist values and an overt critique of the unchecked commercialism of capitalist society. The intention with this hardcover publication is to contrast the Kwakwaka'wakw economic and legal system of potlatching, which also functions as a way of maintaining and preserving oral history, again Western society's system of capitalism. The book references the Hamat'sa ceremony during potlatch, wherein the Hamat'sa cannibals' insatiable hunger and consumption is 'tamed' ritually through the dance. The power to control one's hunger is considered much greater than the power of hunger itself. This book works to critique the West's ravenous need to devour and consumer by presenting works that highlight this Kwakwaka'wakw worldview. 

Additional Information
96 pages | 8.00" x 9.00" 

 

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$30.00

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Clouds
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In this brave first book, Lucy Haché transports the reader with intimate revelations on self-awareness and identity by exploring both her personal and ancestral relationship to the sea, forest and sky. Through skilled restraint and beautifully astute description, Haché's prose reaches past her own contemplation to connect us all. Masterfully illustrated by artist Michael Joyal, his stunning and meteorologically accurate cloud drawings contribute to the overall sensory and transcendent experience.

Reviews
“Lucy Haché pulls universal truths from her very personal observations that will resonate long after the reader has put aside this jewel of a book. I loved each word, and every one of Michael Joyal’s perfect illustrations.” —Charles de Lint, author of Moonheart and The Onion Girl

Series Information
This book is part of the Overhead Series.

Additional Information
62 pages | 5.50" x 8.50" | 20 illustrations | Fiction

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Authentic Indigenous Text
$24.95

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Kesu': The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer
Authors:
Format: Paperback

Fully illustrated and engagingly written, K'esu' is the first book to honour this Kwakwaka'wakw artist's ground-breaking work Northwest Coast.

Kwakwaka'wakw art is renowned for its flamboyant, energetic and colourful carving and painting. Among the leading practitioners was Doug Cranmer, whose style was understated, elegant and fresh and whose work quickly found an international following in the 1960s. He was an early player in the global commercial art market and one of the first Native artists in British Columbia to own his own gallery.

A long-time teacher, he inspired generations of young Native artists in Alert Bay, British Columbia, and across the province. To date, however, his considerable contributions have gone largely unrecognized. This beautifully illustrated book is a record of the art, life and influence of a man who embodied "indigenous modern" before the term had been coined but preferred the descriptor "whittler" or "doodler" to "Kwakwaka'wakw artist."

Skillfully weaving excerpts from his friends and family, facts about his life and examples of his stunning artwork, K'esu' captures the artist's personality and his paradoxes in this wide-ranging celebration of Cranmer, his oeuvre and his profound influence on generations of Kwakwaka'wakw artists.

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$29.95

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Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket
Format: Hardcover
Grade Levels: 10; 11; 12; University/College;

Every object tells a story.

Picking Up the Pieces tells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket, a living work of art conceived and created by Indigenous artist Carey Newman. It includes hundreds of items collected from residential schools across Canada, everything from bricks, photos and letters to hockey skates, dolls and braids. Every object tells a story.

Carey takes the reader on a journey from the initial idea behind the Witness Blanket to the challenges in making it work to its completion. The story is told through the objects and the Survivors who donated them to the project. At every step in this important journey for children and adults alike, Carey is a guide, sharing his process and motivation behind the art. It's a very personal project. Carey's father is a residential school Survivor. Like the Blanket itself, Picking Up the Pieces calls on readers of all ages to bear witness to the residential school experience, a tragic piece of Canada’s history.

"In the traditions of my Salish ancestors, a blanket is gifted to uplight the spirit, protect the vulnerable or honour the strong. I made this blanket for the Survivors, and for the children who never came home; for the dispossessed, the displaced and the forgotten. I made this blanket so that I will never forget -- so that we will never forget." - Carey Newman

Reviews
"Picking Up the Pieces is both a crucial record of history and an outstanding assertion of love and community. The story behind the creation of the powerful Witness Blanket project is one of great care and consideration, with residential school Survivors and their families at the centre. By sharing his own family's connection to a brutal and shameful part of Canadian history, renowned artist Carey Newman brilliantly guides us through the meticulous and thoughtful process of creating one of the most important pieces of art to exist in this country. I had the privilege of experiencing the Witness Blanket on its tour, and it was a poignant moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Reading how it all came together is yet another vital experience. Like the Witness Blanket itself, Picking Up the Pieces will educate and enlighten Canadians for generations to come. It's a must-read for anyone seeking to understand Canada's residential-school saga. Most importantly, it's a touchstone of community for those survivors and their families still on the path to healing." — Waubgeshig Rice, journalist and author of Moon of the Crusted Snow, March 2019

Educator Information
Themes: Indigenous Art, Reconciliation, Residential Schools, Survivor Stories, Intergenerational Trauma

Suitable for most ages (about 12 years+).  A useful social studies or Indigenous studies resource for pre-teens and teens.

Additional Information
180 pages | 10.75" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$39.95

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Sonny Assu: A Selective History
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

A stunning retrospective highlighting the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu.

Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-colour works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.

Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Richard Van Camp, Marianne Nicolson, Candice Hopkins, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humour, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the Canadian contemporary art world.

Reviews
"Educators and students will find numerous access points and opportunities to examine our nation's beliefs, actions, words, and legislation. [This book] also invites readers to knowledgeably and compassionately consider how we can reconcile all that has been with all that can be"—Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2018-2019

"Framed by contributions from some of our brightest Indigenous intellectuals, Sonny Assu’s canvas is more than an examination of how Indigenous Peoples respond to the Canadian experience. His witty and gentle hand offers Canada a mirror to consider its own scarred identity."—Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

“This brilliant book not only provides readers with an overview of the career of one of Canada’s most important artists but also links his development to the contemporary creative practices of First Nations artists in BC politics and history—the intersection of stories with visual expression. All this unveils historical truths and artistic insights that elevate Sonny Assu to greatness." —Dr. Ron Burnett, Order of Canada, Order of BC. President and vice-chancellor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

Educator Information
Recommended for Grades 9-12 for these subjects: Art Education, Social Justice, Social Studies.

Additional Information
224 pages | 8.50" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$34.95

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Stars
Artists:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; University/College;

In this second installation of the Overhead Series, Lucy Haché once again transports the reader with intimate revelations on identity by exploring both her personal and ancestral relationship to the sky and stars. Hache's prose is extraordinary in its combination of self-awareness yet unselfconscious honesty and skillful restraint, creating a sense of connection under the vastness of the stars above. Masterfully illustrated by artist Michael Joyal, his evocative astronomic drawings contribute to the overall sensory and transcendent experience.

Reviews
"[Hache] uses the stars to remember not only the tribulations of the past - Residential Schools and the loss of her traditional village - but also to remember the happiness of her grandmothers and to remember her language. Her poetic prose if full of imagery so rich that the reader can feel swept away with the power of the language." - Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools 2018-2019

"Indigenous People have always had a strong relationship with the sky. Here, Joyal's stark, beautiful illustrations combine perfectly with Haché's voice as she sings a story of loss, and ultimately, reclamation." --David A. Robertson, author of When We Were Alone (winner 2017 Governor General's Literary Award) and Strangers

Educator & Series Information
Recommended resource for Grades 8-12 for these subject areas: English Language Arts. 

A Kwak'wala language glossary is found at the back of the book.

This book is part of the Overhead Series.

Additional Information
80 pages | 5.50" x 8.50"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
$19.95

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The Way Home
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: 12; University/College;

David Neel was an infant when his father, a Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, died, triggering a series of events that would separate him from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When he saw a Potlatch mask carved by his great-great-grandfather in a museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the encounter caused the aspiring photographer to wonder if he could return to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art and photographs, Neel tells the story of his struggle to reconnect with his culture after decades of separation and a childhood marred by trauma and abuse. David returned to the Pacific Coast, where he apprenticed with master carvers from his father’s village on Vancouver Island, and his career as an author and artist took him to the United States and to Mexico, to Europe and back again to British Columbia. Along the way, he met and photographed some of the most talented artists and Indigenous people of his generation. His travels helped him grow as a man and become an accomplished and prolific artist, but they also reconfirmed the healing power of returning home.

The Way Home is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

Educator Information
This memoir is a must-read for anyone interested in Canadian art and artists, particularly Indigenous art, as well as those learning about or active in cultural revitalization in Indigenous communities.

Subjects / Themes: Indigenous Art, Canadian Art, Memoir.

Additional Information
192 pages | 8.00" x 10.00"

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text
Authentic Indigenous Artwork
$32.95

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Yakuglas' Legacy
Authors:
Format: Paperback
Grade Levels: University/College;

Charlie James (1867–1937) was a premier carver and painter from the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation of British Columbia. Also known by his ceremonial name Yakuglas, he was a prolific artist and activist during a period of severe oppression for First Nations people in Canada.

Yakuglas’ Legacy examines the life of Charlie James. During the early part of his career James created works primarily for ritual use within Kwakwaka'wakw society. However, in the 1920s, his art found a broader audience as he produced more miniatures and paintings. Through a balanced reading of the historical period and James’ artistic production, Ronald W. Hawker argues that James’ shift to contemporary art forms allowed the artist to make a critical statement about the vitality of Kwakwaka'wakw culture. Yakuglas’ Legacy, aided by the inclusion of 123 colour illustrations, is at once a beautiful and poignant book about the impact of the Canadian project on Aboriginal people and their artistic response.

Authentic Canadian Content
$34.95

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