Books

ENRICH your MIND through our selection of best reads on Indigenous art and culture.

  • Susan Point: Works On Paper

    Gary Wyatt

    CA$29.95

    A gorgeous collection of prints by one of the Northwest’s leading artists

    Over the past thirty years Susan Point has become the preeminent Coast Salish artist of her generation, exploring many different modern and traditional themes in a wide variety of media. She has received major public commissions in her home province of British Columbia as well as throughout the Northwest coast, the traditional territory of her people, creating extraordinary monumental sculptures that grace important public buildings. Her glass sculptures are collected around the world.

    This is the first book devoted exclusively to her works on paper. Over the past thirty years Point has been an innovator in printmaking, adapting traditional Coast Salish themes to modern art techniques, translating the heritage of her culture to the wider world while creating a body of work that appeals to art collectors from around the globe. Her synthesis of contemporary and traditional styles has resulted in a formidable artistic accomplishment. This beautifully designed volume collects 160 of her prints together for the first time and is sure to inspire and amaze those who see it.

    Published in 2014

    Softcover

  • The Raven Steals the Light

    Robert Bringhurst and Bill Reid

    CA$14.95

    Ten masterful, complex drawings by Bill reid are accompanied by ten episodes from Haida mythology told by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst.  The result brings Haida art and mythology alive as never before.

    Published in 1996

    Softcover

  • Totem Pole Carving: Bringing a Pole to Life [Second Edition]

    Vickie Jensen

    CA$45.00

    In 1985, photographer and writer Vickie Jensen spent three months with Nisga’a artist Norman Tait and his crew of young carvers as they transformed a raw cedar log into a forty-two-foot totem pole for the BC Native Education Centre. Having spent years recovering the traditional knowledge that informed his carving, Tait taught his crew to make their own tools, carve, and design regalia, and together they practiced traditional stories and songs for the pole-raising ceremony.

    Totem Pole Carving shares two equally rich stories: the step-by-step work of carving and the triumph of Tait teaching his crew the skills and traditions necessary to create a massive cultural artifact. Jensen captures the atmosphere of the carving shed — the conversations and problem-solving, the smell of fresh cedar chips, the adzes and chainsaws, the blistered hands, the tension-relieving humor, the ever-present awareness of tradition, and the joy of creation. Generously illustrated with more than 130 striking photographs, and originally published as Where the People Gather, this second edition features a new preface from Jensen and an updated, lifetime-spanning survey of Tait’s  major works.

    Published in 2020

    Softcover

  • Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga

    Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

    CA$29.95

    Hardcover
    2019

    In a prequel to the award-winning Red: A Haida Manga, acclaimed artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas blends Asian manhwa/manga with the Haida artistic and oral tradition in another stunning hand-painted volume.

    In a small near-future community perched between the ocean and the northern temperate rainforest, a series of disasters is taking a heavy toll. It is early fall and a fuel spill has contaminated the marine foods the village was preparing to harvest. As food supplies dwindle, a small group decides to make a late season expedition to search for sealions. Surprised by a ferocious storm, they abandon one man, Carpe, on an isolated rock at sea. After ten days they are finally bale to return, but he has vanished. The story follows Carpe’s encounters with the Lord of the Rock, who demands retribution for Carpe’s role in the hunt, and Carpe’s fate in the half-life between human and animal, life and death.

  • The Way Home: David Neel

    David Neel

    CA$32.95

    David Neel was an infant when his father, a traditional Kwakiutl artist, returned to the ancestors, triggering a series of events that would separate David from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When he saw a potlatch mask carved by his great-great-grandfather in a museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the encounter inspired the young photographer to rekindle a childhood dream to follow in the footsteps of his father.

    Drawing on memories, legends, and his own art and portrait photography, David Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture after decades of separation and a childhood marred by trauma and abuse.  He returned to the Pacific Coast in 1987, where he apprenticed with master carvers from his father’s village. The art of his ancestors and the teaching of the people he met helped to make up for the last years and fuelled his creativity.  His career as a multi-media artist also gave him the opportunity to meet and photograph leading artists, knowledgeable elders, and prominent people from around the world.  In time he was a recognized artists, with his artwork presented in more than forty solo and sixty group exhibitions.

    The Way Home is an uplifting tale that affirms the healing power of returning home.  It is also a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles, and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

    Softcover

  • Discovering Totem Poles: A Traveller’s Guide

    Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$21.95

    An indispensable guide for identifying totem poles along British Columbia’s inside passage from Vancouver to Alaska.

    Whether rising from a forest mist or soaring overhead in parks and museums, magnificent cedar totem poles have captivated the attention and imagination of visitors to Washington State, British Columbia, and Alaska.

    Discovering Totem Poles is the first guidebook to focus on the complex and fascinating histories of the specific poles visitors encounter in Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, Alert Bay, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau. It debunks common misconceptions about totem poles and explores the stories behind the making and displaying of 90 different poles.

    Travelers with this guide in their pocket will return home with a deeper knowledge about these monumental carvings, their place in history and the people who made them.

    Published in 2012

    Paperback

  • Red: A Haida Manga

    Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

    CA$19.95

    An innovative graphic novel, Red is the epic tale of a Haida hero, his rage and his quest for retribution.

    Referencing a classic Haida oral narrative, this stunning full-colour graphic novel documents the powerful story of Red, a leader so blinded by revenge that he leads his community to the brink of war and destruction.

    Set in the islands off the northwest coast of B.C., it tells the tale of orphan Red and his sister, Jaada. When raiders attack their village, Red, still a boy, escapes dramatically. But Jaada is whisked away. The loss of Jaada breeds a seething anger, and Red sets out to find his sister and exact revenge on her captors.

    Red blends traditional Haida imagery into a Japanese manga-styled story. Tragic and timeless, it is reminiscent of such classic stories as Oedipus Rex, Macbeth and King Lear.

    This innovation in contemporary storytelling consists of 108 pages of hand-painted illustrations. When arranged in a specific order, the panels of the narrative create a Haida formline image four metres long. The sequence for this complex design is displayed on the inside jacket.

    Published in 2009

    Paperback

  • S’abadeb The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists

    Barbara Brotherton

    CA$50.00

    Coast Salish oral traditions, history and artistry from prehistory to the present is captured in this visually stunning book.

    A principal at the heart of Salish culture is a reciprocal exchange of physical, spiritual and intangible gifts, including songs, spirit powers, titles, names, food, natural resources and artistic creations.  The term for “gifts” in Lushootseed, a Coast Salish dialect, is S’abadeb and this book illuminates the concept by exploring the intersection of art with ceremony, oral traditions, the land, and contemporary realities.

    Published in 2008

    Softcover

  • Art of the Northwest Coast

    Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$32.95

    Aldona Jonaitis is the Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    An extensive overview of the First Nations art of the Northwest Coast with detailed illustrations and up-to-date maps. This single volume book covers the development of styles by region as well as the art’s meanings in the context of the region’s social history.

    Published in 2006

    Softcover

  • Understanding Northwest Coast Art

    Cheryl Shearer

    CA$22.95

    This easily read book introduces the reader to various symbols, crests and beings depicted in Northwest Coast artworks. Shearer provides brief descriptions of design conventions, elements and differences between cultural groups while explaining the interconnections between art, myth and ceremony.

    Published in 2000

    Softcover

  • People Among the People: The Public Art of Susan Point

    Robert D. Watt

    CA$50.00

    Susan Point’s unique artworks have been credited with almost single-handedly reviving the traditional Coast Salish art style. Once nearly lost to the effect of colonization, the crescents, wedges, and human and animal forms characteristic of traditional Coast Salish art can now been seen around the world – reinvigorated with modern materials and techniques – in her serigraphs and public art installations, as well as the works of a new generation of artists that she’s inspired.

    While the images and symbolism of Point’s work are often informed by surviving traditional Salish works and the Traditional Knowledge of her Musqueam family and Elders, she has developed a unique and contemporary style that continues to evolve.

    People Among People beautifully displays the breadth and depth of her public art, from cast bronze faces in Whistler to massive carved cedar portals in Stanley Park to moulded polymer murals in Seattle.

    Through interviews and archival access, Robert D. Watt gathers the story of each piece, often in Point’s own words, to illustrate the vital role she has played in revealing the re-establishing the “Salish footprint” in the Pacific Northwest.  An artist’s statement by Point and an essay by Dr. Michael Kew complete this portrait of a profoundly moving collection of artworks.

    Hardcover

  • Bill Reid Collected

    Martine J. Reid

    CA$19.95

    Over his lifetime, Bill Reid (1920 – 1998) created many historic sculptures, paintings jewellery pieces and serigraphs inspired by his Haida heritage. The large bronze sculpture The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, nicknamed The Jade Canoe and displayed at the Vancouver International Airport, and The Raven and the First Men, a yellow cedar carving, have both been featured on the Canadian $20 bill. In addition to the immense praise he received for his artwork, Reid was also the recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994. This volume showcases more than 150 of Reid’s most significant works in beautiful photographs.

    Softcover

  • Ḱesu’: The Art & Life of Doug Cranmer

    Jennifer Kramer

    CA$29.95

    Northwest Coast Kwakwaka’wakw art is renowned for its flamboyant, energetic, and colorful carving and painting. Among the best-known practitioners was Doug Cranmer, whose style was understated, elegant, fresh, and unique and whose work quickly found an international following in the 1960s. Named K’esu’, or Wealth Being Carved, as a child, he was an early player in the global, commercial art market and one of the first Native artists in British Columbia to own his own gallery. A long-time teacher, he inspired generations of young Native artists in Alert Bay and beyond.

    This beautifully illustrated book is a record of the art, life, and influence of a man who called himself a “whittler” or “doodler” but who embodied “indigenous modern” well before the term had been coined. He pioneered abstract and non-figurative paintings using Northwest Coast ovoids and U-shapes; embraced the practice of silk-screening on wood, paper, and burlap; and adapted power tools to new applications in art. Skillfully weaving recollections from his friends and family, facts about his life and examples of his stunning artwork, K’esu’ is a wide-ranging celebration of Doug Cranmer and his profound influence on Kwakwaka’wakw art.

    Published in 2012

    Paperback

  • First Peoples of Canada: Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization

    Jean-Luc Pilon & Nicholette Prince

    CA$52.00

    First Peoples of Canada offers readers a rare opportunity to experience a celebrated exhibition that has toured the world, yet has never been shown in Canada. This beautifully designed, full-colour book presents a collection of 150 archaeological and ethnographic objects produced by Canada’s First Peoples – including some that are roughly 12,000 years old – that represent spectacular expressions of creativity and ingenuity.

    Curators Jean-Luc Pilon and Nicholette Prince sought out pieces held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization that could be considered “masterworks” based on their aesthetic qualities, symbolic value, or the skills and raw materials used in manufacturing them. These unique and priceless artifacts embody the rich diversity of skills and materials used by Canadian Inuit, First Nations, and Métis in both ancient and modern times.

    First Peoples of Canada is full of insights not only on the pieces themselves but also on the cultures that produced them and the geography of this vast land. Readers will come away from this book with a renewed appreciation of the lifestyles and achievements of Canada’s original inhabitants.

    This collection focuses on items made by people in four regions across Canada: the farmers of the Great Lakes, the hunters, and warriors of the Great Plains, the wealthy Salmon People of coastal British Columbia, and the people of Canada’s harshest environments, the Arctic and Boreal Forest.

    Published in 2013

    Paperback

  • Olaka iku Da Nana – It’s a Good Day Book

    Corrine Hunt

    CA$20.00

    “This book tells my story behind the [2010 Olympic] medals – the peace symbol, the soul replaced by the hand, ayasu, “stop hey what’s that sign,” my childhood hippyness all groovy with happiness, a journey to far out places doing things I have never done before like co-designing an Olympic Medal.

    The story is about community, the random nature of connections, the chance meetings, and the simple idea that we need each other to thrive, much like my community which continually supports me in my random acts of madness, kindness or both.” – Corrine Hunt

    Published in 2012

    Hardcover

     

     

  • The Whaling People of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery

    Eugene Arima and Alan Hoover

    CA$19.95

    The Whaling People live along the west coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery in Washington. They comprise more than 20 First Nations, including the Nuu-chah-nulth (formerly called Nootka), Ditidaht, Pacheedaht and Makah. These socially related peoples enjoyed a highly organized, tradition-based culture for centuries before Europeans arrived. As whaling societies, they had a unique relationship with the sea.

    This book celebrates the still-thriving cultures of the Whaling People, who survived the devastating effects of colonial power and influences. It features 12 narratives collected from First Nations elders, each illustrated with original drawings by the celebrated Hesquiaht artist, Tim Paul. The book also includes a history of treaty making in BC, leading up to the recently ratified Maa-nulth Treaty signed by five First Nations of the Whaling People.

     

    Published in 2011 by the Royal BC Museum

    Softcover

  • Haida Monumental Art: Villages of the Queen Charlotte Islands

    George MacDonald

    CA$80.00

    George MacDonald, Director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, combines ethnohistory, archaeology and stunning photodocumentation to explain the physical and cultural structure of a Haida village.  He shows how architecture and totem poles are an integral part of the social and religious aspects of Haida culture.

    Published in 1994 by Douglas & MacIntyre

    Paperback

     

  • Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form

    Bill Holm

    CA$44.90

    An important contribution to the fields of art and anthropology, Holm’s work is a genuinely analytical study of the basic elements of form which characterizes a particular aboriginal art style.

    Published: 50th Anniversary Edition, 2015

    Softcover

    Bill Holm passed away on December 16, 2020 at the age of 95.

  • Mischief Making: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Art and the Seriousness of Play

    Nicola Levell

    CA$29.95

    In a gorgeously illustrated exploration of the art of Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Mischief Making disproves any notion that play is frivolous. Deploying mischievous tactics, Yahgulanaas shines a spotlight on serious topics. As he investigates Indigenous and other worldviews, the politics of land, cultural heritage, and global ecology, his distinctive style stretches, twists, and flips the framelines of classic Haida art to create imagery that resonates with the graphic vitality of Asian manga. This engaging and beautiful book delineates the philosophical underpinnings and evolution of the artist’s visual practice, revealing his deep understanding of the seriousness of play.

    Softcover
    Published 2021

  • Sonny Assu: A Selective History

    Sonny Assu

    CA$34.95

    with Candice Hopkins, Marianne Nicholson, Richard Van Camp, and Ellyn Walker

    A stunning retrospective highlighting the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu.

    Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-colour works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.

    Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Richard Van Camp, Marianne Nicolson, Candice Hopkins, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humour, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the Canadian contemporary art world.

     

    Softcover

  • The Magic Leaves: A History of Haida Argillite Carving

    Peter L. Macnair and Alan L. Hoover

    CA$39.95

    This book recounts the history of Haida argillite carving since it began in the early 1800s, and describes more than 200 examples from the extensive collection of the Royal British Columbia Museum.

    Argillite is a dense, black shale mined from a quarry on Haida Gwaii, reserved for the exclusive use of Haida carvers. Argillite works are unique in style and character, ranging from ceremonial pipes and model poles to elaborate platters and chests.

    Published in 2002

    Softcover

  • Huupukanum Tupaat : Out of the Mist: Treasures of the Nuu Chah Nulth Chiefs

    Martha Black

    CA$39.95

    This visually sumptuous book features works of the historical and contemporary importance of Nuu Chah Nulth art and culture.  It illustrates and documents the traveling exhibition of the same name curated by the Royal British Columbia Museum.

    Huupukwanum and Tupaat are Nuu-chah-nulth words that designate everything a chief owns, including valued hereditary names and songs, objects and dances, rights and privileges, lands and resources.

    These Nuu-chah-nulth concepts introduce non-aboriginal people to the profound philosophical, spiritual and personal connections that these objects had – and continue to have – with Nuu-chah-nulth communities.

    Published in 1999

    Softcover

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