Books

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

  • 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

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    Softcover

  • Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast

    Hilary Stewart

    CA$17.95

    This indispensable and beautifully illustrated book is the first to introduce everyone, from the casual observer to the serious collector of Northwest Coast prints, to the forms, cultural background and structures of this highly imaginative art.

    Published in 1992

    Softcover

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  • Looking at Totem Poles

    Hilary Stewart

    CA$17.95

    Looking at Totem Poles is an indispensable guide to 110 poles which exist in outdoor locations in coastal British Columbia and Alaska. Hilary Stewart provides an account to the various poles types, their function and symbolism and how they were raised.

    Published in 1993

    Softcover

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry; The Art, The Artists, The History

    Alexander Dawkins

    CA$24.95

    As beautiful as it is useful, Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in learning about or deepening their understanding of a fascinating craft.

    Indigenous hand-engraved jewelry from the Pacific Northwest Coast is among the most distinctive, innovative, and highly sought-after art being produced in North America today. But these artworks are more than just stunning—every bracelet, ring, and pendant is also the product of a fascinating backstory, a specialized set of techniques, and a talented artist.

    With a clearly written text, a foreword by award-winning First Nations artist Corrine Hunt, and more than one hundred striking color photographs and sidebars, Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry offers an illuminating look at an exquisite craft and the context in which it is practiced.

    Providing a step-by-step overview of various techniques, the book also introduces the specifics of formline design, highlights the traits of the most common animal symbols used, offers tips for identification, and features biographies and works from over fifty of the Coast’s best-known jewelers. Finally, it delves into the history of the art form, from the earliest horn and copper cuff bracelets to cutting-edge contemporary works and everything in between.

    Softcover

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  • Totem Pole Carving: Bringing a Pole to Life

    Vickie Jensen

    CA$26.95

    The totem pole is a distinctive and widely admired form of traditional Northwest Coast Native art.  Once nearly lost, this art form is alive and thriving today.  In this beautifully photographed book, Vickie Jensen collaborates with Norman Tait, a renowned Nisga’a artist, and his crew of young carvers to document the process of transforming a log into a totem pole.

    Throughout the carving process, Tait requires the apprentices to make their own tools, design their regalia and practice traditional drumming, songs and dances.  He teaches the young carvers that carving a pole requires more than time and labour, more than a firm understanding of the tools and techniques and more than artistic and emotional commitment.  The process involves respecting and following tradition and becoming involved in their cultural background.

    Published in 2003

    Softcover

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  • Cedar

    Hilary Stewart

    CA$29.95

    Hilary Stewart explains through her vivid descriptions, 550 drawings and 50 photographs, the tools and techniques used, as well as the superbly crafted objects and their uses in the context of daily and ceremonial life. Anecdotes, oral history and the accounts of early explorers, traders, missionaries and native elders highlight the text.

    Published in 1995

    Softcover

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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 fueled 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

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  • 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

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  • Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast

    Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse & Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$36.95

    Inseparable from its communities, Northwest Coast art functions aesthetically and performatively, from demonstrating kinship connections to manifesting spiritual power. By centering voices that uphold Indigenous priorities, integrating the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders about their artistic heritage, and questioning current institutional practices, these essays “unsettle” Northwest Coast art studies. The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices within the discipline of art history.

    Katherine Bunn-Marcuse is director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, curator of Northwest Native art at the Burke Museum, and associate professor of art history at the University of Washington.

    Aldona Jonaitis is the former Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Published in 2020
    Softcover

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  • Art of the Northwest Coast: Second Edition

    Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$38.95

    Art of the Northwest Coast is a superbly illustrated and informed overview of the Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast, covering the region from Puget Sound to Haida Gwaii to Alaska, and proceeding from prehistoric times to the present.

    By tracing the development of the art alongside historical events following contact with settlers, Jonaitis sheds light on the creativity of artists as they transformed foreign elements into uniquely Indigenous statements. A new chapter discusses contemporary artists, including Marianne Nicolson, Nicholas Galanin, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Sonny Assu, who addresses important themes ranging from Indigenous sovereignty and the power of Indigenous women, to the destruction of the environment and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of racism and discrimination.

    Aldona Jonaitis is the former Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Published in 2021

    Softcover

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  • 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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  • 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

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