Monday, December 26, 2005

Health Officials Asking Inuit To End A Tradition

Canadian health officials are asking Inuit to end the tradition of letting babies less than one year of age to sleep with their parents in bed. Doctors fear that the practice, which goes back to the Inuit's nomadic times, could be a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The cause of SIDS is a mystery, but evidence indicates babies should not be put to sleep on their stomachs or sides. Today's Inuit beds and bed covers have changed into softer beds, making it easier for a baby to roll over on their stomachs or sides. "We would certainly advise that babies under one year have a crib of their own, maybe once in a while sleep with mom or dad," said Dr. Sandy MacDonald. Annie Buchan, a Pauktuutit Inuit raised in an Igloo, said babies never slept between their parents, and were often on a slightly raised platform. She believes if parents have a firm mattress and tight covers, the choice of whether or not to sleep with a baby should be a personal one. "I think it's up to individuals. You know it's an Inuit tradition, then a lot of mothers would like to sleep with their babies," she said. " ...if they take proper precautions, then it shouldn't be dangerous." Since 1999, over 25% of Nunavut's infants who died under under 1 year of age died from SIDS.

To get a view of Inuit tradition in their artwork, see Inuit Art.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Season's Greetings From Inuit & Native Art Bulletin

Just want to wish all readers of Inuit & Native Art Bulletin as well as visitors to the Free Spirit Gallery website a warm Season's Greetings and the best for 2006. There will be lots of new arrivals of both Inuit art and Northwest Native art coming in the New Year. The Inuit & Native Art Bulletin will of course be announcing these new arrivals as they come in. There will also be many interesting articles about the Inuit community as well as the Northwest Native American community in this only blog that covers both Inuit and Native art.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Political Opposition Party in Canada wants More Spending in Defense of Canadian Arctic

Stephen Harper, the leader of the Progressive Conservatives party in Canada, which is the current opposition political party, vows to spend more money in protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic if he is elected the next prime minister of Canada. Harper says he will buy more icebreakers and set up a northern scanning system to protect Canada's Arctic. There have been nations whose ships and submarines have traveled through the Canadian Arctic waters without the permission of the Canadian government and Harper claims that this must stop.

To see some beautiful artwork from the north, see Arctic Art.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Native American Reservation on US Canada Border Hard To Patrol

Andrew Thomas is the Native American tribal police chief who patrols the St. Regis Mohawk reservation lands spanning the American and Canadian border. The Saint Lawrence River and several islands fall in between, making these 12 miles among America's most popular smuggling areas. As the U.S. tries harder to secure its borders, Thomas and his officers -- three per shift -- are America's first line of defense. For their efforts, they get $5,000 in homeland security money a year. "Pennies," Thomas says. At night, the St. Lawrence River hums with the sounds of smugglers slipping from one side of the reservation to the other in their stripped-down boats. They carry marijuana, Ecstasy, money, and human cargo. The Native American tribal police, too, have a boat, but not enough people to operate it. "An expensive paperweight in the parking lot," Thomas calls it. Derek Champagne is district attorney for Franklin County which surrounds the Native American reservation. Champagne prosecutes all county crimes, on the reservation and off. "I'm slowly pulling my hair out," he says. "If we're gonna have a border, it should really mean something." In a videotape of the St. Lawrence River filmed last winter, trucks drive freely over the now-frozen border while in other parts of St. Regis, land roads connect the U.S. and Canada with no checkpoints and no questions. Earlier this year, Champagne showed the tape to a state terrorism conference in Albany. "People said, 'That's our border?' " he says. Like other tribes that live along 260 or so miles of U.S. border with Canada and Mexico, the St. Regis can't get homeland security money directly from the U.S. government. Money comes once it's filtered through the states. A bill to give certain border tribes, including the St. Regis, direct money is pending in Congress.

At least nobody has to worry about smuggling Native American art since there's no need to. Native American art and Canadian art is duty free which makes shipping them across the US - Canadian border a snap. To see some great examples of such work, see Native American Art.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Christmas Deliveries of Inuit Art and Northwest Indian Art

By now, it would be too late to do shipments that would get to most destinations in time for Christmas. FedEx usually claims a 5 to 10 business day deliver. They do have an express option which guarantees delivery within 2 business days but the rate is very expensive at about $90 to $95 US. So any orders of Inuit art or Northwest Indian art sent in now will probably not make it to their destinations for Christmas. The delivery standards set out by FedEx (and Canada Post) were the reason why Free Spirit Gallery had previously suggested December 2 as the final date to get Inuit art and Northwest Indian art orders in for Christmas deliveries.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Two New Native American Wood Carvings of Bald Eagles In

As mentioned on the last post, more Native American wood carvings by Squamish Nation carver Darren Yelton were expected to arrive. The new coho salmon carving came in yesterday and we have two new bald eagles today. Like the salmon, these two bald eagles are beautifully stained and the detail is wonderful on pretty solid thick pieces of wood Darren used. One of them is shown below. Both have been added to Free Spirit Gallery's Northwest Native American Wood Carvings of Birds.

northwest native american wood carving eagle

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Northwest Native American Art Carving of Coho Salmon

We have just added a new Northwest Native American art carving of a coho salmon by Darren Yelton. This magnificant piece is beautifully stained and the detail is just superb. More images and details of this Northwest Native American art wood carving is at Coho Salmon Carving. So far, this is the only salmon carving presently available at Free Spirit Gallery but we expect more after the New Year. We will be adding more carvings by Darren Yelton in the next few days though so check the New Recent Arrivals for them soon. Announcements of their arrivals will of course be posted in this Native Art Bulletin.

northwest native american art salmon carving

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Arctic Narwhal Whales Tusk Studied - Whale Sculpture Example

CBC News

Scientists in the United States have discovered the secret of the narwhal's long tusk, which they say is something unique in the animal world.

Researchers working in Canadian Arctic with the sea mammal say the tusk is actually a sensory probe delivering information to the animal in a distinctive way.

The narwhal's tusk, a 1.5-metre-long tooth emerging from the left side of the upper jaw, has long been a source of fascination. It's spiral nature led to it being marketed for princely sums in medieval Europe as a unicorn's horn.

In the past the tusk has been judged a weapon, a mating display and a fishing spear.

It turns out, the truth is stranger than the fiction.

Scientists studying the animal in Canada's Arctic have found that more than 10 million tiny nerve connections tunnel their way from the tusk's core to its outer surface.

These give the tusk an extremely sensitive surface, capable of detecting changes in water temperature, pressure and particle gradients, scientists say. It also allows the whales to detect water particles characteristic of the fish that constitute their diet.

And when Narwhals display 'tusking' behaviour, or rub tusks, they're likely experiencing a unique sensation, say scientists.

The researchers say there is no other animal with a comparable ability in nature, and certainly no comparable tooth with that kind of functional adaptation.

"Now that we know the sensory capabilities of the tusk, we can design new experiments to describe some of the unique and unexplained behaviours of this elusive and extraordinary whale," said Martin Nweeia of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

The research into the nature and function of the narwhal's tooth may also lead dental researchers to develop better materials for tooth restoration in humans, says Nweeia.

The research was partly funded by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The findings were presented Tuesday at the Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Diego.

Narwhals are sometimes subjects of Inuit carvings. An example of an Inuit carving of a father and baby narwhal is shown below and this one is actually presently available in Free Spirit Gallery's whale sculptures section.

whale sculpture inuit narwhal

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another Inuit Muskox Carving Added - Musk Ox Muskoxen

The section for Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Carvings has been very fortunate to have Inuit muskox (musk ox, muskoxen) carvings by Billy Nutaraq of Inukjuak, Nunavik (northern Quebec Arctic). Billy makes some very unique looking muskox carvings. We have added yet another one of his interesting creations to our muskox collection. This new one is shown below and more details of it as well as other available muskox (musk ox, muskoxen) can be found at Muskox Carvings.

inuit muskox musk ox muskoxen carvings

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Inuit Polar Bear Sculpture Under $100 US - Wow!

Free Spirit Gallery has added a new Inuit polar bear sculpture by Jobie Echalook and this nice piece is actually priced under $100 US. It is not often that we can get bear sculptures for such an affordable price. This polar bear carving is shown below and there are more photos of it at Echalook Bear Sculpture.

There are some other nice Inuit sculptures as well as Northwest Native American carvings available at the Under $100 US section.

inuit polar bear sculpture

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Inuit Art Stone Sculptures By Women Too

Inuit carving is not just the domain of men. There are some pretty talented women up north who make some impressive Inuit art stone sculptures as well. One fine example is Mary Qinuajuak of Akulivik in Nunavik (Arctic Quebec). She has produced a really interesting piece featuring four Arctic Char fishes swirling around and Free Spirit Gallery is proud to announce that it is available from our website. Below is a photo of this unique Inuit art stone sculpture. To see more photos and details of this piece as well as others, go to Inuit stone sculptures.

inuit art stone sculpture

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Shipping 6 Days Per Week from Inuit Art Gallery in Canada

Just to let you all know, the Free Spirit Inuit Art Gallery in Canada is shipping 6 days per week this month in order to get shipments out to our customers as fast as possible (and affordable) since this is the rush holiday buying season. We are shipping from Montreal, Canada. If buyers are located relatively close, we can get Inuit art and Northwest Indian art out to you within a few days. For our customers in the west coast or down south, FedEx claims an 8 business day delivery but given the higher volumes going through their system, I would give it 10 business days just in case. So for clients located further out, I would strongly suggest getting in your orders for any Inuit art or Northwest Indian art in as soon as possible. We will process and pack items as soon as orders come in. We will try to get the shipments out the very next day. Orders that some in during the morning (eastern standard time) will likely go out that same afternoon.

There's still lots of nice choices in our Inuit art gallery and Northwest Indian art gallery.

Monday, December 12, 2005

More Gary Baker Salmon Carvings and Killer Whale Carvings Coming

For those of you who like the shots of the salmon carvings and killer whale carvings by Gary Baker, there's some good news. This master west coast first nation art carver from North Vancouver is presently working hard to make more carvings for Free Spirit Gallery. They should be available sometime after New Year so if you have been waiting to get one of these great carvings, please check in January. They will be coming soon!

west coast first nation art carver gary baker whale carving

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Discrimination Against Canadian First Nations People

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has called Canada to immediately repeakl Section 67 of its Canadian Human Rights Act. The Committee says Section 67 excludes some Canadian First Nations people from protection under the Act and is therefore discrimination. As it stands now, Section 67 allows discrimination as long as it can be justified under the Indian Act in Canada. The Committee is also concerned that discriminatory effects of reserve memberships for some Canadian Aboriginal women and their children have not been remedied. They also pointed to the issue of matrimonial real property on reserve lands which has not been properly addressed.

See for more details of Section 67.

See Free Spirit Gallery's website for magnificent Canadian First Nations Art.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Only Small Number of Canadian Aboriginal Lawsuits Settled

So far, 14,796 lawsuits have been filed by former residential school students who claim abuse or neglect in Canada's past residential school system. The vast majority of these former students are of Canadian aboriginal descent. This includes both Inuit and other Native Canadians. Only 2,793 of these claims by the Canadian aboriginals have been settled. Last year Canada spent $70,000,000 to pay lawyers, researchers and bureaucrats handling the cases, but only $18,000,000 in compensation costs to plaintiffs in comparison. With plaintiff's legal liabilities estimated from $3-$5 billion, the related operating and legal costs could reach $20,000,000,000 by the time all claims have been settled. This is indeed another unfortunate consequence of the abusive history the Canadian aboriginal groups have had to experience. Hopefully, things will be corrected in time so that Canadian aboriginal people will feel as equals as with any other Canadians.

The Canadian Natives have a lot to be proud of including their artwork. For examples of nice Canadian Native art, see Aboriginal Art - Canada.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Able to Get Inuit Dolls But Most Must Stay in Canada

I now have a source of nice Inuit dolls made by various Inuit women in Cape Dorset. However, the vast majority of these Inuit dolls have some sealskin as part of the materials. Therefore, I am not able to ship most of these dolls to the US. This is because of the strict international restrictions on exporting and importing items with marine mammal parts - see Export of Inuit Art. This is a shame because there is a good sized doll collector market in the US and they can't have access to these dolls. I have chosen not to stock these Inuit dolls as a result. However, upon request I could check my source at any time to see if they have the odd doll that doesn't have any seal skin. I did this for a customer in Idaho who is a big doll collector and was able to get one for her. Of course, I could always get access to these Inuit dolls for my Canadian customers.

I told my source to spread the word back to the Inuit doll makers that they should stop using seal skin on their artwork if they wish to get their dolls sold outside Canada, particularly the US which is potentially their largest market. We'll see if they make any changes in the future. If they don't, they are really limiting themselves in regards to Inuit arts and crafts sales.

Most of Free Spirit Gallery's Inuit Art does not contain any marine mammal parts and therefore are exportable worldwide.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Inuit Art For Sale

I have reduced prices on about 15 different Inuit art pieces including sculptures and also a print from Holman. Price reductions of up to $100 US are on some of these items, including three polar bear carvings. Two of these nice sized bears are actually priced at under $200 US now. This is to facilitate the holiday buying season. Inuit art for sale at very good prices currently now at Free Spirit Gallery. I wish to clear some of these pieces to make way for some new arrivals in the New Year.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Coast Salish Art Carvings Added

Two more new coast Salish art carvings have been added to the Free Spirit Gallery website. The first is a chief head carving by Cody Mathias and is attractively priced under $100 US. The second is a unique curved carving of a raven by Doran Lewis. This coast Salish carving was actually carved from a warped piece of wood that Doran didn't want to waste. He used his ingenuity and made the warp a part of the artwork. The result is that the raven's foot sticks out a bit. Both of these new Coast Salish art carvings are listed in the New Arrivals where there are direct links to each piece. One shot of the raven is shown below.

coast salish art carving raven

Nunavut Art and Nunavik Art

Sometimes I'm asked to explain the difference between Nunavut and Nunavik. Both are areas in the Canadian Arctic. Nunavut is Canada's newest territory and was created in 1999 by dividing up the Northwest Territories. Iqaluit on Baffin Island is the capital of Nunavut. Nunavut art comes from such Inuit communities as Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Rankin Inlet.

Nunavik is the northern part of Quebec province that is considered Arctic region. Like Nunavut, Nunavik has an active supply of Inuit carvers. Nunavik art comes from such Inuit communities as Akulivik, Inukjuak and Puvirnituk.

More detailed maps showing the Canadian Arctic north including Nunavut and Nunavik as well as many Inuit communities can be found at Inuit Art Region.

For beautiful pieces of both Nunavut art and Nunavik art can be found at Free Spirit Inuit Gallery.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Inuit Art Loon Bird Carving Added

A beautiful loon bird carving was added to the Inuit art collection at Free Spirit Gallery. This magnificent bird carving has very nice detail on the tail feathers and the neck is just breath taking. Saima Alayco of Akulivik was the carver of this piece. See more details in the Other Inuit Carvings category of Free Spirit Gallery.

All new pieces are listed in the New Arrivals page.

inuit art bird carving

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Online Arctic Art Gallery Adds More Pieces

Online Arctic art gallery Free Spirit has added more Inuit art work. A new Inuit inukshuk by Eli Kakutuk and another musk oxen carving by Billy Nutaraq who specializes in very unique looking musk oxens have arrived. A very attractive feature of these two new Arctic art pieces is that the inukshuk is actually priced below $100 US while the musk oxen is just a bit over making both of these very affordable original Inuit art. See these pieces at New Arrivals.

musk oxen carving

Alaska Native American Yellow Pages Planned

By March 2006, CBG USA hopes to publish a telephone directory of Alaska Native American Yellow Pages. Publisher Jim Cocallas plans a comprehensive listing of Alaska Native corporations and businesses. The Native American directory will look more like a magazine than a traditional phonebook, with as many as 100 glossy pages. The Alaskan directory will also include information about Alaska's 13 regional corporations, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, doing business with Alaska Natives, emergency and social services, education, health care, and other topic. Once published, over 25,000 free copies will be given to Alaska Native corporations, businesses, organizations, and city, state and federal offices. Advance subscriptions will be sold for $35, with half of the proceeds donated to Alaskan Native American scholarships and nonprofit organizations. "It's going to be a long-term project," Cocallas said. "It's going to be around for years to come."