Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Larger Photos for Inuit Sculptures and Eskimo Carvings

We have just spent the last two days taking new and larger photos for the main pages of our Inuit sculpture (Eskimo carvings) at Free Spirit Gallery. The lead photos are now 25% larger with pretty well just as fast download time. Now you can all see these wonderful Inuit sculptures better and really appreciate their workmanship. We will be doing the same thing with our Northwest Native carvings and all the prints soon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Guarantee Extended at Online Art Gallery Store

Free Spirit Gallery, an online art gallery store specializing in Inuit art and Northwest Native Indian art, has extended its guarantee from 14 days to 30 days. Customers now have 30 days from the date of receipt to return any artwork undamaged for a refund.

Owner Clint Leung feels that customers will be so pleased with any Inuit art or Northwest Native Indian art shipped from Free Spirit Gallery, nobody would want to return any pieces anyway. Leung is confident enough to change the guarantee to 30 days. See the new extended guarantee.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Inuit Seal Carvings Added

Free Spirit Gallery has added two new Inuit seal carvings. Both are priced under $100 US. One is by Timothy Nalukturuk while the other one is by a lady Inuit carver by the name of Kimberly Pov. Kimberly definitely shows that she can definitely hold her own with the guys when it comes to Inuit carving. See both of these new pieces at Inuit Seal Carvings.

inuit seal cavings inuit seal carvings

Monday, August 21, 2006

New Inuit Inukshuk Sculpture Added To Online Gallery

A new inukshuk Inuit sculpture has been added to Free Spirit Gallery's online store. This inukshuk has some very human-like characteristics and was carved by Lally Aculiak of Inukjuak. This original piece is also under $100 US. Check it out along with the other inukshuk sculptures at Free Spirit Gallery.

inuit inukshuk sculptures

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Some Pieces of Inuit Art Sculptures Video Available

Some of the pieces of the Inuit Art Sculptures video at Free Spirit Gallery are available for sale online. These include the polar bear sculpture at the beginning of the video by Johnnylee Akpalialuk and the female drum dancer by Johnnylee Nooveya. Other available pieces include the three beluga whales, the hunter with seal and the polar bear with hunter antler piece. The video gives these pieces a more three dimensional view which really shows just how special they are. With the attractive online prices that Free Spirit Gallery has as well as free shipping within North America for most pieces, the Inuit art at the website is certainly worth checking out. So check out the video link above or the Inuit Carvings page.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Canadian Indian Language in British Columbia being Revived

Ditidaht village, a Canadian Indian Native community of 210 people, can only be reached from Port Alberni, British Columbia by a 50-kilometer trek along dangerous logging trails. In spite of the Ditidaht's isolation, outside forces have pushed their language toward extinction. With only 8 speakers left, the Canadian Indian Ditidaht language is on the verge of vanishing, along with half of the languages now spoken around the world.

"I was about 7 when my mother died, and my father died two years later," said Christine Edgar, a Ditidaht elder who speaks Ditidaht in her head, but struggles to get the sounds out of her mouth. "All of a sudden I no longer heard the language. There was just nobody to talk to."

Now the Ditidaht are fighting back. In 2003, the band council approved construction of the $4,200,000 Ditidaht Community School so K-12 students could learn their language and culture. The village is amazed by the program's success.

"We're doing whatever we can to document what's left," said Elsie Jeffrey, the language co-coordinator for the 70 students. "We've put out CDs, DVDs; we're working on digitizing the language on"

Last year, Selina Atleo became the school's first high-school graduate. The 19-year-old now speaks more Ditidaht than her mother and assists in the daycare language-immersion program. Mike Folrtescue, a linguistics professor, is compiling a 500-page Ditidaht and Wakashan dictionary.

To see wonderful Native artwork from British Columbia, see Canadian Indian Art.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Native Art Online Store

Unlike some other native art galleries that have retail locations as well as a website, Free Spirit Gallery is strictly a Native art online store. That is, Free Spirit Gallery does not operate a street retail location in addition to a website. Free Spirit is an exclusively online art gallery specializing in Eskimo art and Native art. The advantage of this particular setup is that the overhead expenses are much lower and the savings are passed onto customers. Customers who are willing to buy Eskimo art and Native art online can save anywhere from 20 to 50% compared to prices at retail galleries including those that have websites. In addition to these cost savings, many of the pieces at Free Spirit Gallery include FREE SHIPPING within North America and subsidized shipping for overseas customers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Housing Crisis in Canada's Arctic

Canadian Press: In the northern capital city of Iqaluit in Nunavut, Jimmy Papatsie lives with his brother, seven children and four adults in a five-bedroom home.

"It's good," said Papatsie, 32.

He knows he's one of the lucky ones. The housing situation is more desperate for many others.

"I've been on the streets for 12 years," said Oopooteeataggoyak, 52.

He is barred from the local homeless shelter but a friend has given him and several others a trailer where they can spend the winter. Being homeless in one of the harshest climates on the planet is a desperate situation.

"You have to be tough," Oopooteeataggoyak said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his first visit to the Far North on the weekend, promising more military spending to assert Canada's sovereignty over Arctic waters.
The money was welcomed, but many believe federal funds would be better spent on the urgent social needs of northern residents, whose long-time presence is Canada's strongest claim to ownership of the Arctic.

Iqaluit alone needs 200 to 300 more units just to clear the current shortfall in social housing. The territorial government needs another 150 housing units for staff.

"You have families living in bedrooms, essentially, rather than having their own space," said Peter Scott, president of the Nunavut Housing Corp. "There's a lot of sites where you've got three, maybe four families occupying the same three-or four-bedroom unit."

Pressed on the social needs of the northern territory, Harper said his government committed $200 million for housing in Nunavut in its last budget.

"The premier identified that to me even before taking office. . . as the No. 1 priority in this territory and that's why we made it our major incremental funding commitment in the budget," Harper said.

Scott welcomed the investment, but said the corporation would need more than $2 billion today just to clear up the current shortage, due to the exorbitant cost of building supplies in the treeless tundra. Nunavut is not only Canada's youngest territory, it has the youngest average population and it's growing rapidly. The birthrate is nearly double the Canadian average, according to Statistics Canada.

Overcrowding leads to the spread of communicable diseases, particularly lung ailments, and the territory has the highest rate of violent crime per capita in Canada.

"That is a factor," Nancy Campbell, spokeswoman for the territorial Department of Health and Social Services, said of the overcrowding. "We have a lot of respiratory challenges on the health front."

The infection rate for tuberculosis, largely considered a Third World disease, is beginning to stabilize but TB, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (a potent lung infection) can spread like wildfire because of the close proximity in which many families are forced to live.

Premier Paul Okalik said he raised all these issues with Harper over the weekend.

"He realizes we're far behind in terms of the rest of the country and he wants to deal with these matters," Okalik told reporters.

But the Nunavut leader isn't looking for the feds to fix these problems. He wants Ottawa to devolve responsibilities to the territorial government to manage its own funding, like the provinces do.

"I pressed him hard on devolution," Okalik said.

If it doesn't move ahead soon, there is a concern the "vast economic potential" of the North, as Harper called it, could become an economic reality that will benefit the rest of Canada more than Nunavut itself.

"We're very fortunate that oil and gas hasn't been touched, really, so that's why I'm pressing hard for a devolution agreement so we can manage and benefit from it," Okalik said.

The territory would like an agreement in place by the next territorial election but the federal government hasn't appointed a negotiator yet and time is running out. Okalik is trying to be patient.

"If the mandate is comprehensive enough, we can move quite quickly," he said. "I told (federal Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim) Prentice in the spring, 'Look, as long as you have a good mandate, I can wait a little longer, but if your mandate is going to come in short of our expectations, I'm going to be quite frustrated.' "

But at the moment, the focus for Ottawa seems to be on Canada's stake in the northern sea.

"We have ignored the Arctic for so long and in so many respects," said Dr. John England, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Alberta and one of six national research chairs on the North.

The sudden "neo-colonial" interest in the region has the potential to bring many changes, said England, who has conducted research in some of the furthest reaches of the Arctic over the past four decades.

"Development has the potential to roll over a lot of other interests," he warned, and bring a lot of changes to the culture and lifestyle of northern residents.

To see images of Iqaluit as well as a travel report there, see Trip to Iqaluit.

See Canadian Arctic Art at Free Spirit Gallery.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Arctic Territory May Recognize Inuit Sign Language

The Arctic Canada territory of Nunavut already recognizes four languages: English, French, Inuktitut and Innuinaqtun. Now the territory is considering legal status for two sign languages used by its deaf residents. While some Inuit learned American Sign Language (ASL) in southern schools, many deaf Inuit who never learned ASL communicate with Inuit Sign Language, a combination of hand signals, body language and facial expressions. At a workshop for deaf people and their families, Inuit from opposite ends of the territory found they could communicate with in a common language. "Watching people communicate, I found that, well, there did seem to be a very powerful language there," said Jamie MacDougall, a language specialist who researched and created the term, Inuit Sign Language. If the Inuit Sign Language becomes recognized, it would also create more services for deaf people.

See Arctic Inuit Arts at Free Spirit Gallery.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Salmon Carvings in Pairs Popular with Native American Indian Artwork Buyers

The salmon carvings at Free Spirit Gallery by Native American Indian art carver Gary Baker have been popular especially in pairs recently. Male and female salmon carvings have attracted the attention of Northwest Native American Indian artwork buyers online as two such pairs have been snapped up in recent weeks. Another pair featuring a male and female has been added to the salmon Native American Indian carvings section of Free Spirit Gallery. Individually, they can be purchased online at $165 US each. The special price for a pair is $298 US resulting in savings of $32 US. Shipping within North America is free.

native american indian artwork salmon carvings

Friday, August 11, 2006

Free Shipping at Online Art Store Gallery

Most of the pieces at Free Spirit Gallery, an online art store gallery specializing in original Eskimo art and Native American Indian art includes FREE SHIPPING within North America. Shipping to overseas locations are partially subsidized as well. Only the several pieces which are under $100 US have extra shipping charges and these are actually stated on each item page so there's no mystery or guessing on what customers will have to pay. But the free shipping is automatically featured for the vast majority of artwork at Free Spirit Gallery for customers within North America.

See Eskimo art and Native American Indian art now at Free Spirit Gallery to take advantage of possible FREE SHIPPING.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Inuit Circumpolar Conference

Issues affecting youth and elders were a priority for discussion at the recent Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC). Patricia Cochran, the group's chairwoman, also plans to improve communications among all Inuit people living in the circumpolar world. "I see great opportunity for ICC," said Cochran, who is Inuit. "I will tell you that I'm so excited to jump into the middle of this, I can't wait to just get my feet wet." The ICC represents 155,000 Inuit from Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. It meets every four years to discuss issues affecting the Inuit people such as language, climate change and northern pollution.

See Inuit Art at Free Spirit Gallery, an online gallery that specializes in both Inuit art and Native American Art.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Beluga Whales at Aquariums

I was down in Atlanta the other weekend and noticed that the flyer for the Atlanta Aquarium featured a beluga whale on the front. I didn't have time to go to this attraction but it's very interesting how some aquariums around the world are catching onto the beluga whale craze. The Vancouver Aquarium had this huge promotional event a few years back with the birth of a new beluga and the TV commercials around here in eastern Canada about Niagara Falls' Marineland stars their beluga whales complete with a music soundtrack written just for them. The aquariums are definitely positioning the beluga whales into the similar status of the dolphins and killerwhales. When you see video scenes of beluga whales kissing trainers and kids, you know that the urban world has elevated the beluga whales to the category of animals which we must love. In contrast, the Inuit up in the Canadian Arctic have been hunting the beluga whales for food for centuries and I can see that this will be somewhat of a conflict for many in the rest of the world now that most of us are being conditioned to love belugas. After all, who could imagine hunting dolphins or killerwhales as food? And now the belugas? We will have to see what the effects are on people's attitudes when they find out that the Inuit consider the beluga whale to be just game (and rightly so). Perhaps the aquariums never considered this. Since I'm involved in Inuit art, I always respect the ways of our Inuit artists and their culture. However, I have to admit that everytime I see the Marineland TV commercial, I do feel some conflicts deep inside knowing that these wonderful creatures are killed for food. Darn those aquariums and what they have done to me!

Free Spirit Gallery has some nice Inuit carvings of beluga whales. See Inuit Art Whale Carvings.

Coin by Inuit Artist Germaine Arnaktauyok

I was waiting in line at a convenience store the other day and just noticed the 'toonie' (two dollar Canadian coin) I had in my hand was one which featured the design by Inuit artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. I had seen this coin before but since the line was long, I had the opportunity to check it out in more detail. It's actually a very nice looking coin with the design of an Inuit drum dancer that Arnaktauyok used in one of her prints. Inuit art has been featured in other Canadian currency as well. Germaine Arnaktauyok also contributed to the design of a special gold coin for the Canadian Mint back in 2000. See Inuit Art in Coins for details and images at the Free Spirit Gallery website.

Free Spirit Gallery specializes in Inuit art from the Canadian Arctic.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New Inuit Inukshuk Carving Priced Under $100 US

Free Spirit Gallery just received a new Inuit inukshuk carving that is priced under $100 US. This piece of artwork features a really nice stone with natural veining and was carved by Pita Pirti of Akulivik in Canada's Arctic. A shot of this new inukshuk is below and more details are at Inuit Inukshuk Carvings.

inuit inukshuk carvings sculptures

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Australian Aboriginal Leaders Visit Native American Navajo Nation

In June, Native American Navajo Nation officials welcomed several of Australia's most notable indigenous aboriginal leaders to the Navajo reservation. They met to discuss international advocacy and promote international laws for indigenous peoples. During the meeting, Lawrence Morgan explained the Navajo Nation government, its issues, and the three-branch system under which the Navajo Nation operate. "It was exciting to have these discussions with our visitors," said Morgan. "We have learned that as indigenous peoples, we face many of the same issues." The Australian aboriginal leaders included Tanya Hosch from the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia.

For Canadian Aboriginal Art, see Free Spirit Gallery