Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Canadian Indian Art To Be Taught at New Centre

There are plans to transform a Vancouver neighborhood full of abandoned buildings and parking lots into a $30,000,000 centre to benefit the area's young urban Canadian native Indian population. By 2008, the center will provide a place to learn traditional Canadian Indian art skills such as carving, dancing and visual arts. It will also be a place for young native Canadian Indians to play basketball, access child care, or look for a job or somewhere to live. "It will be the first of its kind in North America," said Melanie Mark, president of the Urban Native Youth Association. This new centre will be 65,000 square feet and three stories high. It will focus upon current programs while building a host of new cultural, spiritual, educational and recreational options. Currently, Vancouver is home to 15,000 Canadian aboriginal people who represent a variety of bands. The population of young native Canadian Indians under 29 years of age continues to increase.

To see some of the cultural artwork of the aboriginal people in Vancouver, see Canadian Indian Art.

New Eskimo Baskets and Inuit Baskets Category

Free Spirit Gallery has added a new category for Eskimo baskets and Inuit baskets. These are hand made baskets from the Arctic north. There is presently one Eskimo basket in stock right now at the gallery website. This is a beautiful Inuit basket with a bird head carving on the lid. It was made of the native lime grass found in the Inukjuak area of Nunavik (Arctic Quebec). Most of the Inuit baskets come from this area of the Arctic. Photos and details of this new arrival is at Inuit Eskimo Baskets

Program to Help Preserve West Coast Indian Languages

The West Coast Indian Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla say only 44 elders among its 2,525 tribal members still fluently speak their three native languages: Cayuse, Nez Perce and Walla Walla. To help preserve those languages, the tribe has received $585,000 in grants to create language classes on reservation schools and master-apprentice teams for elders to pass on the language to others. At the end of three years, apprentices may become licensed as language teachers. "It's been the best year of my life, the most enlightened," said apprentice Linda Sampson. "It's opened my eyes." Sampson hopes the program will spark renewed interest in learning West Coast Indian tribal languages, something she believes is crucial. "Every tribe has the same goal -- keeping their language going," she said. "You can preserve it, but you've got to transfer it to your kids."

For another aspect of the tribal culture, see West Coast Indian Carvings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

North West Native American Coastal Tribe Whaling Victory

By a 21-6 vote, the U.S. House Resources Committee in Washington D.C. has passed a measure urging the Bush administration to uphold the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay. The treaty promised the North West Native American Coastal tribe the Makah, the right to conduct whaling along with hunting and fishing at their usual and accustomed places in the Pacific North West region. Makah Tribal Chairman Ben Johnson, Jr. was elated. "We won a big one today," he said. "They made my day when that happened. They recognized our treaty -- again. We've had that treaty since 1855." Chuck Owens, an anti-whaling activist, noted that the Committee passed the non-binding measure without allowing debate as he said, "The Republican committee would not allow Jay Inslee to explain to everybody the issue. That's why it passed. There was no argument on this issue." This vote is considered a big victory for the North West Native American people.

For a glimpse at some beautiful authentic native artwork from the North West, see North West Native American Coastal Art.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Current List of Northwest Native American Art Articles

Here is the latest list of Northwest Native American Art articles at the Free Spirit Gallery website. These are direct links to these informative articles. Many of these articles have full color images of actual and authentic Northwest Native American art pieces.

Introduction To Northwest Native Art - Article with photos of Northwest Indian art carvers

The Basic Elements of Northwest Indian Art - A more detailed look at Northwest Indian art

The Colors of Northwest Indian Art - The color schemes used by Northwest Native artists

The Shapes Used in Northwest Indian Art - Illustrating ovoids, U-forms and more

The Design of Northwest Native Art Animal Body Parts - Eyes, ears, noses, arms and more

Northwest Coast Native Art Region - Maps showing Northwest Native geographical region

Northwest Indian Art Carver Gary Baker - A profile of master carver Gary 'Boo Boo' Baker

Northwest Native Art Carver Peter Charlie - A profile of master carver Peter Charlie

Northwest Coast Native Art Carver Cody Mathias - A profile of master carver Cody Mathia

Northwest Coast Indian Art Carver Paul Joseph - A profile of master carver Paul Joseph

Native American Art Authenticity - Real works of Native American art compared to fakes

Northwest Coast Art At Vancouver International Airport - Examples of airport's art decor

West Coast Art Totem Poles - History and use of Northwest Indian totem poles

West Coast Indian Art Tribal Masks - History, types and functions of Northwest masks

Native American Art Thunderbird - One of the most popular Native American icons

The Native American Art Bear - A symbol of strength and friendship

The Eagle In Native American Indian Art - A universally respected symbol of power

The Orca Killer Whale In Pacific Northwest Coast Art - Loved by millions around the world

West Coast Native Art On Canadian Coins - Canadian currency designed by Native artists

Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Art Raven - Known to many as the 'trickster'

Interior Decorating & Home Decor with Native American Indian Art - Bringing home nature

Pacific Coast North West Indian Art on Canada Bank Note - Currency with First Nation art

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Native American Photo Exhibit in Washington State

Here's some news about a Native American photo exhibit at the Washington State Capital Museum currently on now through to April 1 of 2006.

The Washington State Capital Museum presents

Faces from the Land: A Photographic Journey through Native America By Ben and Linda Marra

Olympia, WA--In commemoration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Washington State Capital Museum is honored to present Faces from the Land: A Photographic Journey through Native America, by Ben and Linda Marra, on view October 11, 2005 through April 1, 2006.

In 1988, Seattle photographer, Ben Marra and his wife, Linda, set out to document powwows and the shared cultural qualities that bind together the many nations of Native America. Powwows are an integral part of Native American life, offering Native Americans the opportunity to gather and celebrate their spiritual connections to their ancestors, the earth, community and traditions through drum, song and dance. Faces from the Land focuses on many of the Native American cultures that Lewis and Clark encountered during their arduous 1803 -1806 expedition, including Sioux, Lemhi Shoshone and Nez Perce. A photograph of Sacajawea's great, great, great niece, Rose Ann Abrahamson, is included in the exhibit.

The 37 large color print portraits of Native Americans are accompanied by personal narratives written by the subjects describing the tribal significance of their regalia and dance. These striking images along with their text vividly detail the magic of the powwow, while also allowing the viewer the opportunity to see the juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modern culture.

Ben Marra has been a commercial photographer in Seattle since 1973, working with architectural, industrial, and corporate clients. Dedicated to using his photographs to strengthen and perpetuate an appreciation for Native American culture, Ben Marra's work has been featured in numerous museums, galleries and national magazines, and was recently included in Handbook of North American Indians, published by the Smithsonian Institution. Their book, PowwowŠImages along the Red Road, (Abrams), features 105 color photographs representing more than sixty tribes and nations. Two yearly calendars are also published by Avalanche Publishing.


What: Faces from the Land: A Photographic Journey through Native America

Who: Seattle Documentary Photographers Ben and Linda Marra

When: October 11, 2005 - April 1, 2006

Where: Washington State Capital Museum, 211 21st Avenue S.W., Olympia, WA

Opening Reception: Sunday, October 16, 2005; 2 - 5 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Upcoming Programs: Join Ben and Linda Marra for a lecture and book signing on Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. as they discuss Faces from the Land. Admission to the museum and program are free that evening.

More Information: 360-753-2580,

The State Capital Museum is located in Olympia six blocks south of the Capitol Building at 211 21st Avenue S.W. in the historic Lord Mansion. The State Capital Museum is a division of the Washington State Historical Society, which presents exhibits, programs, and events that bring to life the stories of Washington's history.

To contact Ben Marra Studios: 206-729-2456,

For Native American art at 20 to 50% off typical retail prices, see Free Spirit Gallery Native American Art.

Friday, November 25, 2005

West Coast First Nation Art On Canada Bank Note

As part of a redesigned series of Canada bank notes, a $20 bill was introduced that features west coast First Nation art. There are four images by internationally reqcognized west coast First Nations artist Bill Reid. Canadian First Nations art has been used before on several Canadian coins and is now finally on some paper currency as well. See this Canada bank note at North West Indian Art Bank Note.

To see the Canadian coins with West Coast First Nation art, see Native Art Coins.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Inuit Throat Song and First Nations Dance Part of Tribute to Canadian Aboriginal Vets

Canadian war veterans recently visited France to honor the aboriginal contribution from Canada to the First and Second World Wars. Private Leo Goulet, a Metis who lives on the Atikameg First Nation, and George Horse of the Thunder Child First Nation, recalled Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. "So many things happened to me when we landed 61 years ago," the 81-year-old Goulet said as he stood on the same shores watching the calm gentle waves, sand, and seaweed. "There were dead soldiers here and there, some floating, some dry. It's all like a big dream - or nightmare I should say." "It was tough," said Horse, 86. "We were wide open, the Jerries were up on the hill firing at us, but we just kept going ahead." In a separate service at Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, a Canadian First Nations honour dance, Metis fiddle lament, and Inuit throat song paid tribute to the heroic Canadian aboriginal veterans.

For information on First Nations and Inuit art from Canada, see Canadian Aboriginal Art.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New North West Native American Coastal Art Carvings

We have received several new North West Native American Coastal Art carvings this past weekend and they have just been posted on the Free Spirit Gallery website. These include some marvelous carvings by such master carvers as Cody Mathias, Paul Joseph and Albert Joseph. This new set of North West Native American Coastal art carvings include a loon, beaver, chiefs and ravens. There's also a rare raven carving with wings spread out. There's a nice complex carving with an eagle, bear and salmon all in one piece. Part of this particular carving is shown below. To see the rest of these new arrivals as well as existing pieces, see North West Native American Coastal Art Carvings. A list of new artwork is at New Arrivals.

north west native american coastal art carving

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Northwest Coast Indian Art Mask - Native American Artwork Arrival

A new Northwest Coast Indian art mask by Cody Mathias has just arrived at Free Spirit Gallery. This is a Wild Man mask and is an absolutely stunning piece of Native American artwork. This mask features bark for hair and also bird feathers on the head. See more details and photos at Northwest Coast Indian Art Masks.

northwest coast indian art mask carving native american artwork

Saturday, November 19, 2005

New Inuit Seal Carvings Have Arrived

Three new Inuit seal carvings have arrived at Free Spirit Gallery. All of these Inuit carvings are under $100 US. Two of these Inuit seal carvings are by Adamie Niviaxie of Inukjuak. See all three of these new pieces at Inuit Seal Carvings. A listing of all recent arrivals of Inuit Art at Free Spirit Gallery can be seen at Inuit Art New Arrivals.

inuit seal carving

Monday, November 14, 2005

Seals Sold Out For Now At Arctic Art Gallery

All the seal carvings have been sold out for now at the Arctic art gallery Free Spirit Gallery. But there will likely be new arrivals of Arctic art seals at the end of this week. The new seal carvings should be posted on the Free Spirit Arctic Art website on the weekend. Images of the last seal carving sold is still on the website for this week to give visitors an idea of seal Arctic art carvings.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

North West Indian Art Salmons

The salmon fish has always been important to the North West Indian people. This is reflected in their North West Indian art where they do beautiful carvings of salmons. Some great examples are at North West Indian Art Salmon Carvings.

There has also been some controversial moments in history and politics involving the North West Indian people, salmon and the US government. It's been 60 years since Billy Frank's first arrest for catching salmon on the Nisqually River. He was 14 and doing what his father, his grandfather and generations of North West Indian Nisqually tribal members had done for centuries. Since then, Frank has been fighting for both his people and the salmon. "In my estimation, he's the functional equivalent of Martin Luther King, Jr. for African-American people, or Cesar Chavez for Hispanic people," said David Nicandri, director of the Washington State History Museum. The struggle went on for years as North West Indian tribes fought for their traditional fishing rights guaranteed in their treaties.

In 1974, U.S. District Judge George Boldt affirmed the nation's obligation to honor the treaties, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Boldt five years later. "One of [Frank's] great lines is about it taking so many talents and pooling of efforts to get things done," Nicandri said." He'll say, 'You need the policy people, the scientists -- and you need the getting- arrested guy, and I was the getting-arrested guy.’" Today, Billy Frank is chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, a coalition of salmon-treaty tribes. "So here we are today, still trying to implement the Boldt decision, still trying to implement the recovery of salmon," Frank said.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Current List of Eskimo Inuit Northern Art Information Articles

Here's a current list of Eskimo Inuit northern art information articles available. These articles cover different aspects of Eskimo Inuit and northern art in general as well as travel to the Canadian Arctic region. Some of these articles on northern art have full color photos of excellent Eskimo Inuit artwork.

Materials Used in Inuit Sculpture - Different types of stone and materials in Inuit art

Canadian Arctic Region of Inuit Northern Art - Maps showing where Inuit art originates

The Different Styles of Inuit Sculpture - Differing styles of Inuit art across the Arctic

Eskimo Inuit Northern Art Authenticity - Real works of Eskimo Inuit art compared to imitation fakes

The Prices of Inuit Art - Characteristics of Inuit art which determine market prices

Inuit Art As Investments - Developments which affect Inuit art as investments

Interior Decorating and Home Decor with northern Inuit Art - Arctic art for today's home styles

The Evolution of Contemporary Arctic Art Carvings - History of modern Inuit art carvings

The Birth of Inuit Art Prints - Describing how James Houston taught the Inuit printmaking

Prehistoric Eskimo Carvings - Tracing early Eskimo art to prehistoric ages

Inuit Eskimo Art Sculptures of Arctic Polar Bears - Describes the different types of bears

Export of Inuit Sculpture Containing Whalebone or Ivory - Restrictions of export and import

Value of Older Inuit Northern Art and Eskimo Sculpture - Investigate value and artists of older pieces

The Inuit Inukshuk - History, purpose and significance of the inukshuk

A Trip To Iqaluit In Nunavut, A Canadian Arctic City - Travel report to Nunavut's capital

Throat Singing In Inuit Culture - The revival of this old traditional Inuit activity

Inuit Drum Dancing Of The Arctic - Traditional Inuit drum dancing and music

Arctic Inuit Art On Canadian Coins - Canadian currency featuring Inuit art designs

The Dancing Bears of Inuit Art - The ever popular dancing bear Inuit carvings

Traveling to the Canadian Arctic and Native Inuit Communities - Air travel to the north

See Eskimo Inuit Northern Art for examples of beauiful artwork from the Arctic.

Monday, November 07, 2005

New Northwest Native American Carving Art Expected

I have ordered more Northwest Native American carving artwork from master carvers Cody Mathias and Paul Joseph, both of Squamish Nation. Upon speaking to both Cody and Paul, there should be some new Northwest Native American carvings of eagles, beavers, chiefs and ravens. I'm also hoping to get some more killer whale carvings as well. Cody has also made a new Northwest Native American art mask for me. I hope to receive all this new artwork by the week of November 21 and will work very quickly to get them online at Free Spirit Gallery. I will of course announce their arrival as soon as they get in.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Canadian Arctic Map

A previous post announced the new article about traveling to the Canadian Arctic region and native Inuit communities. This is to remind everyone that there's a nice Arctic map of northern Canada in the same website. This map show many of the Inuit communities in the Arctic region which includes Nunavut, Nunavik (northern Quebec Arctic), northern parts of Labrador and Northwest Territories. See Canadian Arctic Map of Inuit Art Communities.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Inuit Stone Sculpture of Walrus

Here's a new Inuit stone sculpture of a nice walrus that just arrived here at Free Spirit Gallery. It was carved by Noah of Iqaluit, Nunavut and measures a nice 6 1/2 inches long. More details and images are at new Walrus Inuit Stone Sculpture

To see all the walruses, see Walrus Inuit Carvings

walrus inuit stone sculpture

Traveling to the Canadian Arctic and Native Inuit Communities

There is more travel to the Canadian Arctic and the various native Inuit communities up north these days due to both promotion of northern tourism and business from the creation of the Nunavut goverment. Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut is growing since many Inuit are migrating there from other native Inuit communities for job opportunities. However, travel to the Arctic region from the rest of Canada is still quite expensive, especially the flights. If one is willing to pay for the price of flights to the Arctic, there are some Canadian airlines that do service the north on a regular basis. See Traveling to the Canadian Arctic and Native Inuit Communities for much more details.

To see native Inuit artwork from the Arctic, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Arts and Crafts.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Rare Inuit Artwork of Inukshuk with Walrus Arrived

We have just acquired a rare piece of Inuit artwork which is an inukshuk with a walrus head on the top. This very unique Inuit carving was made by Mark Tertiluk, one of the premier inukshuk carvers in the Canadian Arctic. To see more details of this wonderful piece of Inuit artwork, see Inuit Inukshuk with Walrus.

inuit artwork inukshuk carving

Native Inuit Inukshuk Used as part of Canada's Sovereignty

Here's is an article from the National Post newspaper about Canada marking its sovereignty in the Arctic.

Standing on guard, with a pile of rocks
Exercise Frozen Beaver marked Hans Island as ours

Adrian Humphreys
National Post

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hans Island, the tiny Arctic island at the centre of Canada's war of words with Denmark over its sovereignty, is so barren that even the rocks used by soldiers to erect an Inukshuk needed to be flown in by helicopter, military documents show.

When a small contingent of the Canadian Forces landed on the island in July on a sovereignty patrol, they also erected a 12-foot pole topped by a metal Canadian flag that had been specially designed and built at a cost of almost $2,000.

Details of the secret three-hour mission -- code-named Exercise Frozen Beaver -- are contained in internal military documents and photographs obtained by the National Post.

The visit on July 13 was followed by a second unannounced visit, one that brought Bill Graham, the Minister of National Defence, to the island on July 20 to pose for photographs in front of the flag.

The erection of the Inukshuk, a traditional Inuit landmark built by piling stones, is a curiosity.

The military claims there was nothing special about placing an Inukshuk on the island, even one that is hastily caulked together and fixed with an engraved plaque declaring: "O Canada, We Stand On Guard For Thee."

"While on Hans Island, CF personnel erected a flag pole and raised the Canadian flag. They also built an Inukshuk, which is normally done on these types of Ranger patrols," says the Canadian Forces Media Lines on the visit. (Media lines are officially prepared cue cards used by officials when speaking with reporters.)

However, Inukshuks have not been a part of previous sovereignty patrols and there appear to be no records of other Inukshuks being constructed on earlier missions.

The engraved plaque bears the date July 12, 2005, but officials say the mission took place July 13. Presumably weather delayed arrival by a day.

The Inukshuk is unusual for other reasons as well.

The first item on the Frozen Beaver mission timetable was for Rangers to "select rocks for Inukshuk in Eureka and transport to site." Eureka is a northern weather station.

It estimates the rocks would weigh about 300 pounds, a serious matter for delicate helicopter flights in the Arctic: "Air support load limitation a key factor," the document cautions.

Three soldiers were to spend an hour collecting rocks of an appropriate size and shape.

After flying from Eureka to Hans Island, an hour was set aside for two Canadian Rangers to erect the Inukshuk while two others filled the metal base of the flag pole with stones to weigh it down. The Rangers are a largely aboriginal military unit.

The flag-raising was to take five members of the ground mission 30 minutes, with one person slipping away near the end to capture it on film.

After 15 minutes of packing and cleanup, the soldiers again took to the air in their helicopter, making a final pass of the island to take pictures of the flag and Inukshuk before leaving.

Like the Inukshuk, the flag left behind is unique, designed for the mission and constructed and assembled in secrecy.

The idea was to erect a flag that would always be unfurled, similar to the U.S. flags left behind on the moon. Making it from metal was seen as a way of ensuring it did not deteriorate in the high winds.

Photos of the visit show Hans Island to be a desolate rock devoid of foliage.

A small wooden and windowless hut containing a cot, portable stove, cooking pots, maps and other supplies was found there.

The hut is marked on the outside with the words "Tulugaq '88."

Tulugaq is the name of a Danish Navy arctic patrol cutter. In 1988, the ship took a Danish crew to Hans Island. Danish warships have made almost annual stops on the island, which they claim as their sovereign territory, a claim contested by Canada.

Denmark suspended a planned visit to Hans Island by HDMS Tulugaq this summer to avoid additional diplomatic tensions.

Also photographed on the island was a wooden outhouse, likely one of the world's most northerly outdoor toilets. It lies on its side, housing planks of wood. Nearby, what appears to be 12 rusting oil drums and six gas cylinders lie on the ground.

The Canadian military visits may have caught the Danes off guard, but they have since checked on the Canadian monuments and found the metal flag design was not effective.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller told a Danish government committee shortly after Exercise Frozen Beaver that the Canadian flag had already been flattened by harsh winds.

"How do I know that? We're monitoring the island, of course. It's a part of Danish territory," he was quoted as saying.


POLE: $1,500

Specially designed and built to detach into three sections, allowing it to fit in a helicopter before assembly on Hans Island. It is bolted into a square base of thick steel and, when erect, stands about four metres high. One hour was set aside for two soldiers to assemble the pole and flag on the island. It took another hour for three soldiers to load the base with stones to weigh it down. Another 30 minutes were scheduled to raise the flag slowly while being photographed. Made by a Yellowknife welding company for $1,500.

FLAG : $401.56

Made of a metal sheet 1/8-inch thick, 48 inches long and 24 inches high, according to schematic diagrams obtained by the Post. The Maple Leaf image appears on both sides. Flag stencil cost $401.56.


Documents refer only to five soldiers being involved in the ground operation -- two Rangers, a Ranger commander, a mission commander and a photo technician. Some photos, however, show at least eight people at the flag raising. Presumably the helicopter crew accounts for the discrepancy.


Engraved in English, French and Inuktitut, the plaque was made by a Yellowknife jeweller for $98. It declares: "Erected by members of CFNA HQ, 1 CRPG, 440 and 438 Sqns, [the four military units involved in 'Exercise Frozen Beaver'] on July 12, 2005; 'O Canada, We Stand on Guard for Thee.' " The mission actually took place on July 13.


Built by two members of the Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal military unit, from stones flown to the island. One hour was set aside for its construction; another hour for three Rangers to first hunt for rocks in Eureka.


Hans Island, located between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland, which is Danish, is claimed as sovereign territory by both nations. The barren rock is about one kilometre in diameter, with a cliff on its south end. Negotiations over its sovereignty are ongoing.

© National Post 2005

For more background information on the native Inuit inukshuk, see the Inuit Inukshuk article. To see some nice Eskimo Inuit art work of inukshuk represented, see Inuit Inukshuk Sculptures.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More New Arrivals of Eskimo Art Work at Inuit Gallery

There have been more new arrivals of Inuit Eskimo art work this week including a much needed new seal carving since all seals were previously sold out here at Free Spirit Gallery. This new seal Inuit carving shown below along with a really nice Eskimo sculpture of two Arctic Char fishes are among some of the new acquisitions made by our Inuit gallery. We have even added a new page on our website that has direct links to all new pieces of aboriginal art from Canada at New Arrivals of Inuit Artwork and Pacific Northwest Indian Art Work.

seal inuit carving