Thursday, June 30, 2005

Inuit Janitors Helping Teach Inuktitut Language In Arctic Canada

The Iqaluit District Education Authority in Arctic Canada has such need for Inuktitut (language of the Inuit) speaking substitutes that school janitors are now teaching Inuktitut classes. "We are using anybody right now," said Aseena Alurru. "We are even using cleaners, doesn't matter. Just anyone who wants to do it, if they can speak in Inuktitut and write in Inuktitut, that is the biggest factor." Alurrut says it is unfortunate that this is even an issue in Nunavut (Canada's newest territory located in the Canadian Arctic), where the majority of the population is Inuit. She says student teachers finishing their semester will help solve some of the problem, because they usually come into the schools to teach Inuktitut during their summer holidays.

for more information on culture, see Inuit Art Information Resource Articles.

Northwest Coast Indian Haida Language Dictionary

The most extensive written record of the Northwest Coast Indian Haida language is now available in print in the form of a dictionary. This dictionary contains numerous features, among them word form variations, the class of each word and examples of word usage. This 2,126 page dictionary of the Haida language was published by The Alaska Native Language Center and is in two volumes. The books cost $279 and is described as a complete a record of the Northwest Coast Indian language as is possible.

To see more on culture of this region, see Northwest Coast Indian Art articles.

Striking Large Inuit Art Carving Goes To Nova Scotia

A seasoned Inuit art collector in Nova Scotia recently contacted me and was seeking a large Inuit carving of a hunter with some sort of Arctic wildlife. What he was after was much larger than anything I presently had in my gallery of Inuit carvings. But since I have access to different sources of new Inuit art, I was able to find a suitable piece for him. We started out with 16 different potential large pieces which I had photos shot from multiple angles. He finally settled on a very striking Inuit carving of a fisherman with an Arctic fish by Jobie Uqaituk shown below. This piece was 18 inches high, 15 by 8 inches at the base and weighed in at 35 pounds. An injected foam system was utilized during the packing to minimize any possible breakage during shipping. When the packing was completed, the box was 33 inches high and weighed 53 pounds. The customer happily received the carving intact and I was told that he will construct a special table to display it as a centerpiece.

If any collectors of Inuit art cannot find what they are looking for in my gallery, there's always a possibility that I can find something suitable for them. For other examples of Inuit art that I had located for clients, see Locating Specific Inuit Art.

inuit art carving

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Locating Specific Inuit Art For Our Customers

In addition to Inuit sculptures, Free Spirit Gallery is also able to locate specific Inuit art prints for clients as well. A customer based in Nevada was looking for Inuit art prints but didn't want scenes that showed any hunting activities. Free Spirit Gallery located some potential Inuit art prints featuring wildlife and Arctic camp scenes. We sent images of about ten different Inuit prints to this customer and the Inuit camp scene shown below was selected. To see other examples of where we came through for our customers, see Locating Specific Inuit Art.

inuit art print

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New Northwest Indian Art Orca Killer Whale Carvings Have Arrived!

After much anticipation, the new Northwest Indian art orca killer whale carvings by master carver Gary Baker have finally arrived! As usual, these carvings are great and all have that distinctive Baker Northwest Indian art design of their eyes. They are absolutely wonderful. This set of carvings also feature a raven head on the tail of each orca killer whale. For more images and details, see Northwest Indian Art Killer Whale Carvings.

northwest indian art killer whale carving

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dancing Polar Bear With Fish Inuit Sculpture Going To Mississauga Ontario

One of the best Inuit sculptures I brought back from Nunavut (Arctic Canada) is a dancing polar bear with a fish in its mouth. This particular Inuit sculpture was made by Johnnylee Nooveya of Iqaluit who is considered by many to be one of the best up and coming polar bear carvers in the Canadian Arctic north. It is certainly unusual to see a dancing polar bear with a fish as these types of Inuit sculptures usually do not have anything in the mouth. Polar bear Inuit sculptures that have either a fish or seal are usually in walking positions. So this is why this particular Inuit sculpture is so special.

It will be going to a very lucky lady in Mississauga, Ontario this week. It's always a bit sad to see such a nice Inuit sculpture go but then again, it's great to have more of Johnnylee's work out there. There are a few more Inuit sculptures done by him at my gallery. The lead dancing polar bear on the Free Spirit Gallery home page was done by Johnnylee.

To see more exquisite artwork of this type, see our gallery's Inuit Sculptures section.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

New Northwest Native American Art Salmon Carvings

A new set of Northwest Native American art salmon carvings done by Gary Baker has arrived! The last time Free Spirit Gallery Native American Art had any salmon carvings by master carver Gary Baker, they were sold out very quickly. I have just posted all the details on this new set. The salmon carvings by Gary are usually the first to go so if you missed out the last time, see the new Northwest Native American art salmon carvings now.

northwest native american art salmon carving

Friday, June 24, 2005

Northwest Coast Indian Art Canoe For Students

As part of a program to learn about their own culture and identities, a Northwest Coast Indian art canoe was built for students of a school named Chief Leschi located in Washington state. The canoe is called Spirit of the Wolf Protects. Culture Coordinator Peggy McCloud claimed that the new 34-foot canoe will bring connection to Northwest Coast Indian students and help keep their minds, bodies and spirits strong. "We can continue our ancestral teaching with this beautiful canoe. So many of our songs are about the water and mountains. The students can deepen their understanding of their heritage and who they really are," she said.

Captain Connie McCloud wanted to show young people the healthy side of their Northwest Coast Indian culture and encourage children to be proud of who they are. "There's a lot of grieving, hardship, drug and alcohol abuse that our children are confronted with, " said Connie McCloud. "Being a part of a canoe family offers a chance to celebrate with others their true spirit and identity. It brings back their culture, language, dance, and develops leadership. They learn to work together to accomplish the journey," she added.

To see a full length article on this event, see Indian Country. For more on information of their culture, see Northwest Coast Indian Art Articles.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Native American Languages Disappearing

George Roy, 58, has spent 10 years teaching the Native American language class Ojibwe 101 to students at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Michigan. "The first thing I tell my students at the beginning of each semester is that we're fighting a battle to hold onto our own cultural identity," said the Native American language instructor from the Ottawa tribe. "Language is the glue that holds our culture together ... I think most of us who teach Native American languages and culture in the Great Lakes realize that we're fighting an uphill battle to preserve our own heritage." Most of the 40 Native American languages and dialects used on Midwestern reservations and in Native American families are expected to vanish within the next few decades as tribal elders die. This growing threat to Midwestern Native American Indian languages is only part of a worldwide phenomenon. Linguists say that, on average, a language somewhere in the world becomes extinct every two weeks. Many blame English language television programs and English language computer software. "The scholars tell us there are almost 7,000 languages in the world, and that half of them will probably be lost in the next century," said Bruce Cole, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also added that 400 world's languages have fewer than 100 fluent speakers each, and that 74 of them are Native American languages. In an effort to rescue some of these threatened languages, the NEH and the National Science Foundation have announced a $4.4 million program of grants and fellowships designed to preserve both written and spoken elements of more than 70 threatened languages.

In addition to languages, let's hope that other aspects of Native American culture such as art do not vanish as well. To see some beautiful artwork, see Free Spirit Gallery Native American Art.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

First Law Class Graduates in Arctic Canada

National Aboriginal Day in Canada became a special occasion for the first law class graduates in Nunavut territory in Arctic Canada. Their graduation ceremony in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Tuesday was attended by Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik and Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. There were 11 graduates. If they eventually pass their bar exams, there will be 12 Inuit lawyers in Arctic Canada, including Premier Okalik. "This is a quantum change and a huge step toward righting the awful imbalance of Inuit involvement in the legal system of Nunavut," Clarkson told the assembly.

The Akitsiraq Law School was a partnership between the University of Victoria and Nunavut Arctic College. Law professors from across Canada flew to Iqaluit (capital of Nunavut) of to teach courses. For many students, attending a law school outside Nunavut and Arctic Canada was out of the question. "I would have had to enrol my children in different schools because they are all at different levels. And having to go through that would have been totally impossible for me," said graduate Aaju Peters, who has five children. Siobhan Arnatsiaq-Murphy, another graduate, says leaving the Arctic would mean leaving behind her culture and language. "The North doesn't always have to go to the South and operate on southern standards. Southern standards can come to the North and be alive here and be enriched by us," she said.

The students are starting jobs across the country, including one graduate who got a job as a clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. The Akitsiraq was intended as a one-time program, but there have been discussions about offering it again in the Canadian Arctic.

For more information on culture and the arts of Arctic Canada, see Inuit Art Information Resource Articles.

New Article on Pacific Northwest Native Art Raven

I have just posted a new article on the Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Art Raven. The Raven is also known to many as the 'trickster' and is considered to be the most important symbol by many Pacific Northwest Native Canadians. Below is an example of a Raven carving. So for interesting background on this popular symbol, see the article Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Art Raven.

pacific northwest native canadian art raven

Monday, June 20, 2005

Pacific Northwest Native Art Killer Whale Carvings Sold Out

Our stock of Pacific Northwest Native art killer whale carvings are sold out but we expect more to come in stock within the next 2 weeks. They will be like the one pictured below by Pacific Northwest Native art carver Gary Baker.

As soon as the new carvings arrive, I will do a post to announce it. In the meantime, feel free to see other beautiful Pacific Northwest Native art carvings.

pacific northwest native art carving

Northwest Native Art by Actual Indian Chief

Here's a Northwest Native art print of a killer whale by an actual American/Canadian Native Indian chief who happens to be a great artist as well. His name is Floyd Joseph and he is a chief of the Squamish Nation in BC, Canada. This Northwest Native art print is called 'Sunset of Nobility'. It is a fine example of Native art using an orca killer whale as the main subject. For more details of this beautiful art, see Northwest Native Art Killer Whale print.

northwest native art print

Friday, June 17, 2005

Unique Inuit Art Eskimo Igloo Carvings

There are two very unique Inuit art Eskimo igloo carvings at Free Spirit Gallery that I would like to highlight today. They were made by Gordon Riffi of Kuglugtuk in Nunavut. The Eskimo igloo shown below is 7 inches long by 4 1/4 inches and 3 inches high. It has a harpoon outside the igloo as one can see. Now the really unique thing about this Eskimo igloo is that the roof is actually detachable revealing the Eskimo family inside! This is a really different feature in Inuit art. Both of the Eskimo igloo we have right now have detachable roofs. More images and details on these two pieces can be found at Free Spirit Gallery Other Inuit Art section.

eskimo igloo inuit art

eskimo igloo inuit art

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Concerns About First Nations University of Canada

First Nation chiefs in Canada are concerned about the future of the First Nations University of Canada since the suspensions of three top officials and the firing of a university vice-president. Gary Merasty, Grand chief of the Prince Albert Grand Councils in the Saskatchewan province, worried about the damage the controversy has caused to students and to the university's reputation. "We want to ensure that the integrity, the credibility and the pride that we have in our institutions is first and foremost," Merasty said. "Those institutions represent our future." Merasty has called for a task force of industry experts to look at how First Nations University of Canada should operate successfully in the future.

See Canadian First Nations Art Articles for interesting information on the native culture.

Trying To Save Northwest Coast Indian Language

There are only about 300 descendants of a Northwest Coast Indian group in western Canada who still speak Nuuchahnulth. But almost no young people know the ancient language. Now, after 5,000 years, the Nuuchahnulth language will finally get its own dictionary. The dictionary was compiled by Dr. John Stonham and was created with help from current speakers plus notes from linguist Edward Sapir taken almost a century ago. The dictionary has 7,500 entries for the complex language. "Entire sentences can be built up into a single word," Dr. Stonham said. "But there are also some concepts that can be encapsulated in a single syllable. A single sound describes the state of remaining in seclusion when the husband goes out to hunt, for example." Stoneham hopes the dictionary will help Nuuchahnulth survive by aiding language teachers in the Northwest Coast region.

To see more information on the region's culture, see Northwest Coast Indian Art Articles.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Canadian First Nations Leader Claims Treaty Not Respected

England's Prince Edward met with Canadian First Nations leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of The James Bay Treaty. The historic treaty, signed by Prince Edward's great-great grandfather, created a peaceful alliance between the British Crown and First Nations people across much of the province of Ontario. "It is a great honour to be here in the centenary year of that treaty, basically a treaty from my family to the peoples of the First Nations," said Prince Edward. Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation told Prince Edward that treaty is not being respected. "Our forefathers made treaty on a nation-to-nation basis to co-exist peacefully in our homelands," Beardy said. He said that while the treaty generated prosperity and wealth in parts of Ontario and Canada, many indigenous northern communities suffer from terrible poverty, illiteracy and suicide rates. "I think (Ontarians) need to know what's happening to us, their treaty partners..." he said. "My people are suffering. Some of my communities are still using outhouses. This is the year 2005. We've had people walk on the moon and yet my people are still using outhouses. A lot of them can't even access basic education. That has to change." The United Nations ranks living standards in the region as squarely in the Third World category, with extremely low levels of literacy and terribly high levels of suicide.

If Canada is to be ranked high on a list of the best places to live in this world, I think the areas where our First Nations people live must be taken care of. They have a rich culture that we should be proud of. For more information on First Nations culture, see Native Canadian First Nations Articles.

Inupiat Eskimo Island Makes Endangered List

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” highlights one-of-a-kind historic properties that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development, or insensitive public policy. This year, King Island which was occupied by Inupiat Eskimo people known as “King Islanders” or “Ugiuvangmiut” made this list. King Island, located 95 miles west of Nome in Alaska, is in imminent danger of being washed into the Bering Sea. The Bureau of Indian Affairs closed the island’s school in 1959 which forced King Islanders to relocate with their children to Nome on the mainland. Today, the last surviving Inupiat Eskimo families are seeking to seasonally return to King Island. The King Island Native Corporation, which owns the land, is working to protect and rebuild the remaining structures.

In general, properties that make it on National Trust's list gain powerful awareness although it doesn't ensure that they will be protected. The list began in 1988 and 160 properties have been identified to date ranging from urban districts and rural landscapes to Native American landmarks and sports arenas.

For examples of artwork from the north, see Free Spirit Gallery Eskimo Art.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Northwest Coast Indian Art Fans Around The Country

Sometimes I am amazed where our shipments of Northwest Coast Indian art ends up. The majority of our Northwest Coast Indian art carvings do end up going back out west to customers in Washington, Oregon, California, BC and even Alaska. This is the region where Northwest Coast Indian art is exposed so many people out there are already familiar with this striking form of aboriginal art. However, we do end up shipping some of our carvings to places such as Texas, the midwest and the east coast where there isn't much Northwest Coast Indian art. Texas, where there's Southwest Indian art everywhere, is an interesting place to ship to. Upon further communications with our customers in areas where other forms of aboriginal art are more common, it turns out that many of these people have previously lived in the Pacific Northwest region and miss the artwork from there. Well, this is good since we now know that there are ambassadors of Northwest Coast Indian art in different parts of the country. I certainly hope that this form of aboriginal art will gain more exposure in different areas and Free Spirit Gallery Northwest Indian Art will do our best to help.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Boston Native American Indian Law To Finally End

Governor Romney of Massachusetts signed a bill repealing The Boston Indian Imprisonment Act. Passed in 1675 during King Philip's War, the law made it legal to imprison any Native American entering Boston. Obviously, it has not been enforced for many years. "It is our hope that signing this bill into law will provide some closure to a very painful and old chapter in Massachusetts history," said Romney. "This archaic law belongs in the history books, not the law books."

I am willing to bet that there are many other similar laws and bylaws still in existence in areas located in both the United States and Canada. I'm sure that nobody actually enforces these archaic laws today but they should still be finally wiped out since they are an insult to Native American Indians and Eskimo Inuit peoples as well. We should be doing everything we can to celebrate our different heritages and enjoy our different cultures freely.

For more on Native American Indian culture, see Native American Indian Art Articles.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Inuit Sculptures As Gifts

Inuit sculptures seem to be very popular up here in Canada as corporate gifts. I have heard Inuit sculptures being given as special prizes for top sales people in companies as well as for retirement gifts for those employees who have given many years of service. Of course, Inuit sculptures are very popular for Canadian companies doing business internationally as corporate gifts. Inuit sculptures are like goodwill tokens of Canada that Canadian companies use for helping build business relationships with others abroad.

I've decided to give my brother a large Inuit sculpture of a walrus as a wedding present. His new home with his future wife is basically a starter home without much art of any kind yet. I thought that a really nice Inuit sculpture will help enrich their new home together. It will help them to start transforming their present typical home style of recent grads/career beginners to established home owners.

For Inuit sculptures that will help you enrich your own homes, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Haitian African Caribbean Art

Just to remind folks that although Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art normally deals with primarily Inuit art as well as Northwest Indian art, sometimes we also stock some other unusual art pieces from other genres and styles. An example is the Haitian African Caribbean art wood carving that can be found in our Free Spirit Gallery Other Art section.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

To Our Inuit Art & Native American Art Customers

We hope that all our Inuit art and Native American art customers are having a great start of the summer. We here at Free Spirit Gallery will be taking a short vacation starting June 5 and will return on June 12. Any orders for Inuit art or Native American art during this time will be processed when we return on Sunday, June 12 and will be shipped out the next day on Monday, June 13.

If we receive multiple orders on any specific piece, of course the first customer to place an order will be considered the purchaser of that piece. So if you see anything that you really like in our gallery, we suggest that you get your order in before anybody else.

We will try to check our e-mails while we are away but this of course will be dependent upon available internet connections. In the meantime, all of the wonderful Inuit art and Northwest Indian art will be available for your viewing pleasure and our secure shopping cart is still functional to take your orders while we are away. Of course, all our informative articles and eCards are available all the time.

Until we return on June 12, have a great week!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Why Does A Native American Art Gallery Have Ukrainian Eggs?

Some people have noticed that in Free Spirit Gallery's Other Art section, there are items that are not related to the usual Native American art or Inuit art that the online gallery deals with. Why is this so?

Sometimes, I come across other fine art items by other cultures and in the case of the Ukrainian pysanka (pysanky) eggs, it was my significant other who introduced me to them (she's Ukrainian Canadian). I bought some off a local Ukrainian artisan in Montreal and since they can be considered fine art, I put them in my gallery. They are real chicken or goose eggs that have been emptied and the patterns on the shells are extremely intricate. An example is shown below. This is fine art for sure!

So take a look at the Free Spirit Gallery Other Art section sometime to see anything that also might be interesting besides our great selection of Native American art carvings and Inuit art carvings.

ukrainian pysanka pysanky egg

Thursday, June 02, 2005

First Nations Canadian Performs For Royals

Aboriginal hoop dancing has taken First Nations Canadian Lisa Odjig to Korea, Italy, Holland, Israel, France and Mexico. She recently performed in her home country before Queen Elizabeth II during Her Majesty's visit to Canada. "It's a great opportunity, a great experience and I feel very honoured to be a part of this performance," Odjig said. After winning two aboriginal hoop dancing world championships in 2000 and 2003 , Odjig was approached a few months ago to perform at this special celebration for 15,000 people. Odjig said hoop dancing isn't only a part of who she is as a proud First Nations Canadian, but where she comes from. To see more articles on the culture and arts of the First Nations people, see Native Indian Art Information Resource Articles.

Inuit Peoples & Others From Arctic Fight Global Warming

Inuit peoples and other indigenous leaders from the Arctic Council recently called on the 25-nation European Union to do more to fight global warming and to protect the indigenous way of life. Chief Gary Harrison, who represents the Athabascan people in Alaska and Canada, said urgent action was needed from EU, the United States and Russia. "Maybe we can put pressure on and maybe they can turn the corner and help," he said. The Arctic region shared by eight different nations is home to about 4,000,000 people, including more than 30 different indigenous groups including the Canadian Inuit peoples. The Arctic Council represents the indigenous people from the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, the United States, Finland and Scandinavia. Inuit people from Canada have noticed the effects of global warming claiming that ice melts earlier and comes later in the season which affects the Arctic wildlife. This in turn affects the Inuit people. To see more articles on the culture and arts of the Inuit peoples, see Inuit Art Information Resource Articles.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Canadian Aboriginal First Nations Women Receive Grant

From 2005-2010, the Canadian federal government will provide $5,000,000 to the Native Women's Association of Canada for activities to help end racism and violence against Canadian Aboriginal First Nations women. "Aboriginal women have clearly stated their concerns, and the Government of Canada is responding," said the Honourable Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister for the Status of Women. "We want Canada to be a nation in which Aboriginal women are free from discrimination, fear and violence. We must reduce their marginalization by addressing the root causes that put them in danger." This is a real step forward by the Canadian government to help improve the lives of Aboriginal First Nations women in Canada. Perhaps as one result, we can see enough improvements in the self esteems of Canadian Aboriginal First Nations women that they will also produce some beautiful Canadian Aboriginal art in the future.

Native Canadian Indian Art Becomes Real

The Royal Canadian Mint had previously issued a $200 gold coin with a Native Canadian Indian art design of a white buffalo by Native artist Alex Janvier. This image has just turned into reality when the first white bufflo calf was born on a ranch near Ft. St. John in northwestern Canada. According to Native American and Canadian people, a white bison is a harbinger of peace and unity. The birth of a white buffalo calf in Wisconsin had attracted 500,000 people. "This is the first white calf that was born in Canada. I know there were a few in the States, but not a lot," said rancher Karen Blatz. "A white buffalo is sacred to native American people. They see it as a symbol of hope and peace, rebirth and unity. Also, he was born north of the Peace River, so we thought Peace would be a good name," Blatz said. The calf was born prematurely nearly a month ago, weighing only nine kilograms (just under 20 pounds). This is half the usual weight for a newborn calf and it had to be taken away from its mother to be bottle-fed. Blatz kept the birth secret to ensure the calf would survive before its arrival was announced. According to the US-based National Bison Association, white calves are born once every three to five years. Not surprisingly, this white buffalo calf will not be turned into bison burgers. "He is such a rare animal. I would like to see him get out where he'll get more exposure, because we're quite isolated here in the north," Blatz added.

To see Alex Janvier's design of the white buffalo as well as other Native Canadian Indian art designs used on Canadian coins, see the Native Coins article.

Ancient Native American Indian Art Unearthed

Native American Indian art was part of 10,000 artifacts unearthed at the Tse-Whit-Zen village northwest of Seattle, Washington. This is the largest ancient Native American Indian village ever unearthed in the state. The village was part of the Klallam tribe of the Pacific Northwest region. There were also 335 intact skeletons found on site. It is estimated that parts of the village are 2,700 years old. The village was accidentally discovered when a dock was being built in Port Angeles. See the special web report on this Native American Indian discover at

For contemporary artwork, see Free Spirit Gallery Native American Indian Art.