Norman Tait and Lucinda Turner
Born in 1941 in Kincolith, BC, Norman Tait is a decendant of the master carver, Oyai. He was educated by elders in Nisga’a oral tradition and ceremony. He attended residential school in Edmonton, then high school in Prince Rupert before becoming a millwright in a pulp mill. After moving to Vancouver in 1971, he began carving seriously. His reputation was established in 1973 with his first totem pole, carved with his father Josiah and erected to commemorate the incorporation of Port Edward. It was the first Nisga’a pole raised in more than fifty years. He has produced numerous totem poles, including one, Big Beaver, for the Field Museum in Chicago; one privately commissioned and donated to the Heard Museum in Pheonix, Arizona, and one for the British Royal Family, erected in Bushy Park, London, in 1992.
As an internationally acclaimed artist, Norman’s talent continues to flourish in the more recent works he has created. He is not only a master in large scale, but also in miniatures. His dedication to preserving his ancestry in the traditional design style is evident in each piece of artwork. He prides himself on his knowledge of his language and cultural traditions and periodically takes on projects with his partner of many years, Lucinda Turner.
Other original works are located in Osaka, Pheonix, Chicago, London, North Vancouver, and at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columia. Norman also took part in the carving of a frontal Pole for the Native Education Centre in Vancouver, an event documented in Vickie Jensen’s book, Where the People Gather (1992).