Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Inuit Art Arctic Fish Carving - Eskimo Fish Sculptures

Adamie Niviaxie is one of the most prolific carvers of Arctic fish Inuit art carvings. Based in Inukjuak in Nunavik, Canada, Adamie carves some very distinctive bulky Eskimo sculptures of Arctic fish. Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art is pleased to have just received one of Adamie's new Arctic fish carvings and this one is a beauty at 9 1/4 inches long. See more photos and details of this wonderful Inuit art piece at the Other Inuit Carvings category of the gallery.


inuit art arctic fish carvings eskimo sculptures

Monday, February 27, 2006

Charter Boats, Fishing Guides and Outfitters for Fishermen

Here's a website that lists charter boats, fishing guides and outfitters for fishermen in the U.S. It lists fishing operators by state which is quite useful for travel planning purposes. The website is uscharterboats.com. This should be a handy reference to all fishermen and fishing enthusiasts.


For those interested in salmon fishing, you may want to consider some nice artwork of salmons by Northwest Indian art carvers. They make some really dramatic versions of salmon fish. See examples at Salmon Art.


The salmon is actually a very important aspect of Northwest Indian culture. See its significance in Salmon in Northwest Indian Art and Culture.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Arctic Winter Games a Go for Canadian Athletes

Canadian athletes participating in Alaska's Arctic Winter Games next month may still attend without official passports after all. SportNorth, the organization governing the Arctic Games, had previously said all athletes needed valid passports to travel to Alaska, a US state. This caused some concern for Canadian coaches and athletes based in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut waiting for their passports to be approved in time. In place of official passports, the SportNorth will accept birth certificates and general identification certificates for entry into Alaska for the Arctic Games. The Arctic Winter Games games will take place March 5-11 in Kenai, Alaska.


For cultural artwork from the Arctic regions, see Free Spirit Gallery Arctic Art.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Northwest Canadian Indian Art Finally at National Gallery of Canada

An ailing Northwest Indian artist will make history by ending some sort of apartheid at The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Northwest Indian Anishnaabe artist Norval Morrisseau will travel from a nursing home on Vancouver Island to attend an exhibition of his own artwork including paintings and drawings. Also known as "Copper Thunderbird" and "Picasso of the North," Morrisseau's 59 works cover pieces created from 1958-2002. The National Gallery is considered Canada’s leading art institution. However, most aboriginal art was considered folk art and not worthy of being shown along with Rembrandts and Picassos. Although the National Gallery did acquire some aboriginal art during its early years, the collection was turned over to the Canadian Museum of Civilization across the river in Gatineau. Morrisseau’s exhibit will therefore be a long return of Canadian aboriginal art back to the National Gallery of Canada.


For other fine examples of aboriginal art, see Northwest Canadian Indian Art.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ravens at the Tower of London

Looks like the officials at the Tower of London in England are being proactive in protecting the resident ravens who live there from bird flu. There is a group of ravens who live in this structure which is one of Britain's main historical attractions. The ravens have been kept in special cages during the evenings and left free during the days. But with the risk of bird flu, the officials have brought the raven birds indoors for now. Legend has it that if the ravens ever left the Tower of London, it will signal the beginning of the collapse of the English monarchy and empire.


So it looks like the raven is legend in other cultures around the world in addition to Native American. For background information on the Native North American versions of the raven, see Pacific Northwest Native Canadian Art Raven.


Free Spirit Gallery has nice carvings of ravens on a regular basis in the Northwest Indian Art Birds Carvings section.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Canadian First Nation Group Offers Culinary Arts Program

The White Buffalo Spiritual Society is a Canadian First Nation group in Winnipeg, Manitoba that offers a culinary arts programs for members of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation and for Canadian aboriginals living in Brandon, Manitoba. The city’s restaurant industry needs experienced kitchen help, especially chefs so White Buffalo has hired a certified chef trained in Switzerland to instruct students. Following training, students may take the Inter-provincial Trade Certification (Red Seal) test. “Once they pass it, they become Red Seal cooks,” said Calvin Pompana from the White Buffalo. “That’s a basic industry standard. We’ll have a Red Seal course likely in the next six months too. We have people eligible now from our first course.” The Canadian First Nation group's culinary arts training has been successful in other First Nations reserves including Split Lake and War Lake.


For information on more cultural arts, see Canadian First Nation Art at Free Spirit Gallery.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Orca Killer Whale Art

For those who love orcas or killer whales, you might want to take a look at the Pacific Northwest Coast Indian art representation of them. The orca or killer whale has been part of Northwest Coast Indian culture and legends for a long time which is why this creature is a favorite subject of these people's art.


For some background information on the significance of the orca or killer whale as well as a brief description of one of the legends surrounding it, see the Orca Killerwhale in Pacific Northwest Coast Indian art.

Free Spirit Gallery has a separate section in its online gallery just for killer whale carvings.

Below is a nice Northwest Indian art carving of a killer whale by master carver Cody Mathias.


orca killer whale art carving

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pacific Northwest Coast Indian School Preventing Dropout

The Nixyaawii Charter School, a Pacific Northwest Coast Indian school located in Oregon, managed to turn around the previously high dropout rates among American Indian students. Principal Annie Tester says attendance is key.

"We call. We pick them up," she said. "They don't fall through the cracks."

The school also brought native American languages and Pacific Northwest Coast Indian culture into their curriculum. Students study native American languages, choosing to learn either Nez Perce, Walla or Cayuse dialects. Most of the school's 65 students are American Indian.


For excellent examples of the region's American Indian culture, see Pacific Northwest Coast Indian Art.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Native Art for Salmon Fishing Enthusiasts and Fishermen

I noticed that there are quite a few operations out in the northwest region as well as other areas for salmon fishing. Fishermen (and ladies) who go for salmon may want to take a look at some of the great Northwest Indian artwork of salmon fish. The Northwest Indian tribes place a great importance to the salmon fish since it has always been such an important source of food. Therefore, they use the salmon as a common subject for their Northwest Indian art. See the article Salmon in Northwest Indian Art for background information.


I've seen many nice contemporary non-native artwork depicting the salmons as well which I'm sure many salmon fishing sportsmen already have. The Northwest Indian art versions of salmon may not be familiar to many fishermen and outdoor sportsmen so here's an invitation to check some out at the gallery section for Native Salmon Carvings.


salmon carving northwest indian art

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ancient Australian Aboriginal Houses Discovered - An Exciting New Find in Australia

An extraordinary discovery of ancient Australian aboriginal houses made of stone may confirm that some of Australia's first inhabitants lived in settlements, not just as nomads. These houses, discovered near Tyrendarra, were unearthed by recent fierce fires. Visible now are remnants of the stone houses with some measuring 5 metres wide and laid out in an arrangement like a village. Also found were eel traps, walking tracks and bits from cutting tools. Australian researchers believe a similar site near Lake Condah was a place for smoking eels used for barter with other aboriginal communities in Australia.

"This is very early aquaculture," said Matt Butt, a land management supervisor. "People talk about the Egyptians 3000 years ago, but this is something else."

Around the rocks marking the houses lies discarded flints. "These flints are not made from rock you find here," Butt said. "They come from the coast. It makes you think."


These discoveries may boost interest in the Australian aboriginal culture and their exquisite art. For equally exquisite native artwork from the North American continent, see Canadian Aboriginal Art.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Canadian Squamish Tribe Trying to Keep Language and Arts Alive

Only two elders from the Canadian west coast Squamish tribe in the Squamish Valley of Britich Columbia currently has the ability to fluently speak the Squamish Nation’s language. Alex Williams and Addie Kermeen, the two elders, are trying to pass on their knowledge. Several other Squamish Valley elders are working towards teaching their people and the community about the Squamish Nation culture. And they claim that their native language plays a large role in this education.

“You can’t teach our culture without our language,” said Shirley (Hum-Te-Ya) Toman. “Teaching our children in English makes it harder.”

The residential schools many Native Canadians attended and the Canadian government’s history of trying to assimilate the First Nations peoples have virtually wiped out many native languages. In these schools, First Nations children were not allowed to speak their own native languages and would be punished if they did.

“You were strapped or put in the closet,” said Toman, who spent five years at St. Paul’s residential school in North Vancouver. “Some had their tongues pierced with a pin and told it was so they would remember to not speak their language.”

Toman had already lost the language by the time she attended residential school because she was the second generation of students and her parents had been told to not teach their children their native tongue.

“We didn’t learn the language because it would threaten our living standards at the schools,” she said. “By not knowing the language we couldn’t be punished for speaking it at the schools.”

Both Squamish elders Kermeen and Williams were able to avoid attending the residential schools by escaping the BC provincial police who enforced First Nations children to attend the schools from 1879 to 1986.

“They hid me away,” said Williams, speaking of his parents and the elders in his Squamish nation community.

Fourteen years ago, Toman, Kermeem, and Williams, all members of the Squamish Valley Elder’s Circle, came together with six others to help heal the suffering they endured at the residential schools.

“I lost everything my parents taught me at those schools,” said Marjery (Lats-Mat) Natrall, a Squamish Elder who attended St. Paul’s. “And once you lose it you can never get it back.”

Bob Baker, a Squamish Elder, spent seven years at St. Michael’s residential school in Alert Bay and said the Canadian government went so far as to split up children from the same native communities so they wouldn’t be able to speak to each other in their different native languages.

“In order to get our people out of the language and the culture they moved us to where nobody spoke our language,” he said.

“My Dad said there is no use teaching you [the language] you will only go back to school and get beat up,” said Chief Eleanor Andrews, who spent eight years at the Sechelt residential school and is also a member of the Squamish Elders.

Andrews still knows some of her native words but claims it has become difficult for her to pronounce them. Now, the Squamish Valley education department is working in the community to preserve the native language. Native dance classes are held twice a month at Totem Hall, where the native Squamish language is integrated as a part of the singing and drumming.

Williams was involved with the Squamish Valley education department in the creation of a CD-ROM about the Squamish language. This project was made possible through a grant from the First Peoples Language and Culture Council in Victoria, BC.

“We are in the process of creating our second language CD ROM,” said Rose Reimer, the administrative coordinator for the Squamish Valley Education department.

Reimer said preserving the Squamish Nation language is important because it teaches Squamish Nation children about their history.

“For our children to succeed they need to know who they are and where they come from and they have to remember the elders and the ancestors that came before them and what their struggles were and to honor that,” she said.

“As long as we have the recordings and people are willing to learn.


The Squamish Nation in BC, Canada produce some of the most vibrant Canadian aboriginal art. This includes their wonderful Northwest Canadian Indian art wood carvings.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Polar Bears, Rulers of the Arctic North

The polar bears (Thalarctos maritimus) live in the Arctic regions of the north near open water where they can find their main source of food which are seals. These bears are huge with adults at 7 to 8 ½ feet tall and up to 1,600 pounds. Polar bears are white to creamy white all year round which gives them excellent camouflage against the Arctic snow when hunting. Along with the Arctic fox, the polar bear is the most northerly located land mammal on earth.

Unlike other species of bears, polar bears have longer necks and smaller heads making them appear more streamlined. Despite their large sizes, they are incredibly fast being able to run up to 25 miles per hour. At speeds like this, a polar bear can outrun a reindeer. They are also excellent swimmers being able to swim at about 3 miles per hour but for considerable distances.

During winters, they spend most of their time on the ice floes hunting seals. Polar bears have rough, leathery pads on the bottoms of their feet to maintain footholds on slippery ice surfaces. Their adaptation to the cold Arctic waters is even more impressive. Their thick coats of fur traps a deep layer of insulating air around their bodies. An inner layer of fur is so compact that it is almost impossible to wet it. An outer layer of long guard hairs mat together in the water which forms another layer over the inner layer. After a polar bear leaves the water, it simply shakes its body which results in most of the water being thrown right off leaving the bear almost dry. These protective layers of fur ensure that the polar bear’s skin is kept dry most of the time, even while in the Arctic waters.


[to read the rest of this article and to view nice photos of polar bears, see Polar Bears, Rulers of the Arctic North]


polar bears

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Photo of Inukshuk and Inuit Arctic Community Added

I've added a photo of an inukshuk overlooking an Inuit Arctic community to the article about Traveling to the Canadian Arctic and Native Inuit Communities. It's a typical shot of what an Inuit community looks like with the various housing and the background of the snow valley and tundra. One can really get a sense of the remoteness of these northern Arctic Canadian towns. Maybe the term town is actually too big as some of these places have only several hundred in population.


For lots of photos of Inuit Arctic artwork, see Free Spirit Gallery.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Permanent Inuit Art Gallery Exhibitions – Public Eskimo Art Galleries

The following is a listing of permanent Inuit art gallery exhibitions or publicly accessible Eskimo art galleries. These are locations where there is an Inuit art collection on exhibit all year round. Some are small in scale, part of an overall exhibit with other forms of art while some are solely dedicated to Inuit art and Eskimo art.

Ontario

Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto)
Chedoke-McMaster Hospital (Hamilton)
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (Guelph)
McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg)
National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa)
Toronto-Dominion Gallery of Inuit Art (Toronto)

Quebec

Canadian Guild of Crafts (Montreal)
Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau)
McCord Museum of Canadian History (Montreal)
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal)
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (Québec)

Manitoba

Crafts Museum, Crafts Guild of Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Eskimo Museum (Churchill)
Winnipeg Art Gallery (Winnipeg)

New Brunswick

Galerie d’art de l’Université de Moncton, Champlain Library (Moncton)

Nunavut

Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum (Iqaluit)

United States

Dennos Museum Center (Traverse City, Michigan)
Alaska Museum of History and Art (Anchorage, Alaska)


For an online Inuit art gallery with extensive information articles as well as Inuit art for sale, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Canadian Inuit Art a Big Hit in France

When Raymond Brosseau of Quebec City closed his Inuit Art museum, he decided to take part of it on tour. It is currently at Paris's Musée de l'Homme, near the Eiffel Tower. The museum's exhibition, Inuit: quand la parole prend forme (Inuit: When Words Take Shape), is on display through March 27, 2006. With a steady flow of visitors, it seems that Inuit art has become a hit in France.

The launch of the exhibit at the Musée de l'Homme was attended by Jacques Chirac, France's president, whose fascination with Canadian aboriginal art took him to Nunavut with then Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien in 1999. Chirac will be the patron of an ambitious new museum of aboriginal art from around the world, slated to open in Paris this year. The same Inuit exhibit played two years ago in Lyon, where it was a smash hit with 90,000 visitors and long lineups on weekends. French television, radio and newspapers have given the show's Paris run full coverage. The works on display in Paris include intricate miniatures to pieces as large as the carvers who made them.


To see more ahout Inuit art, see Inuit Art Information Articles.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Inuit Art and Eskimo Art at Sold at Auctions

Waddington's, an auction house based in Toronto, Canada has about two auctions for Inuit art and Eskimo art per year. During one such auction last year, 10 Inuit sculptures by master carver Osuitok Ipeelee of Cape Dorset were sold for over $195,000. The auction brough in over a million dollars (Canadian) which was just shy of the record which was $1.6 million Canadian during a fall 2004 auction for Inuit art.


These figures may prove that Eskimo art and Inuit art have indeed reached the status of fine art and do have investment potential. Also see the article Inuit Art as Investments.


For Eskimo art and Inuit art that may someday be worth many times their current value, see what is currently available at Free Spirit Gallery of Inuit Art.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Combined Shipping Can Save on Overall Shipping Costs of Canadian Aboriginal Art

Customers of our Canadian aboriginal art should consider ordering more than one item at a time, especially in the case for our international customers located overseas. Shipping internationally can be pricey particularly with larger sized packages which would be the case for many of our Northwest Canadian aboriginal art carvings as well as larger sized Inuit art. These are costs which are determined by the postal services.

However, in most cases, more than one item could easily fit into the same box. Therefore, instead of ordering two separate items of Canadian aboriginal art in two separate occasions which would require two separate pricey shipping costs, ordering them at the same time would be much more cost effective as combined shipping would required only the one shipping charge. More than likely, any extra weight as a result of combined shipping of multiple items would result in only marginal, if any extra increase in shipping rate.

International customers could order either multiple items for themselves or go in with a friend to take advantage of possible combined shipping. The savings in overall shipping charges for multiple items would certainly make things worthwhile. Even domestic customers have taken advantage of combined shipping. Although many of our Canadian aboriginal art items are already free of charge for shipping within United States and Canada, domestic customers who order an item which features free shipping could easily add another item to the order that does not have free shipping. By combining the order, the shipping would result in free shipping for both items, something that would not have been possible if the customer ordered each item separately.

So when browsing our Canadian Aboriginal Art Gallery, do consider ordering more than one item at a time, particularly our international customers.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Arctic Travel and Tours to the North

There have been more travelers going to the Canadian Arctic region in recent years for both business and tourism. Adventure tourism companies are beginning to promote the Arctic as a unique destination to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the north as well as the culture of the native Inuit who live there. As a result of the creation of the Nunavut territory and government, the capital city of Iqaluit has been growing as Inuit from smaller Arctic communities migrate to the city for more job opportunities. This growth has created the increase of business travelers to the Arctic.

Getting to the Arctic has always been a problem for travelers since there are no roads that go up there from southern Canadian cities. The Arctic communities are very isolated from the rest of Canada as well as from each other. Flying in has been the only option although many coastal Arctic areas are serviced by cargo boat during the summers as well. For the average traveler, the air option is the only way to go. Although travel to the Canadian Arctic has increased, the number of travelers going up north is very small compared to number of travelers between southern Canadian cities. As a result, the major Canadian carrier Air Canada and certainly none of the US carriers service the Arctic.

[see the rest of this article at Arctic Travel and Tours]

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Canada Gives Inuit Inukshuk To Norway As Centennial Gift

The government of Canada gave Norway a large Inuit inukshuk as a gift this past summer. The gift was made to commemorate Norway's centennial. The artist who made the inukshuk was Joseph Suqsiaq of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Gjoa Haven was where Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen spent the winter aboard his ship, the Gjoa, just before he completed the first transit of Canada's Northwest Passage back in 1905.


More background information on these types of Inuit structures is in the article the Inuit Inukshuk


To see beautiful artwork of these sculptures made by Inuit carvers, see Inuit Inukshuk Sculptures.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Canadian Aboriginal Art Comic Book Soon to be Released

Soon to be released is a new Canadian Aboriginal art comic book addressing Aboriginal youth suicide prevention. It’s the story of a Canadian Aboriginal reserve teen who feels socially isolated and has difficulty at school. Even with his artistic talent and help from a good friend, the young man considers taking his own life. The story was inspired, written and illustrated by Steve Sanderson, a professional Canadian Aboriginal youth cartoonist. Health professionals and Canadian Aboriginal youth focus groups in B.C., Canada helped create the authentic characters and language.


This is a great idea indeed. In the meantime, we can see more traditional forms of Canadian Aboriginal Art at Free Spirit Gallery.