1-800-690-8222 | Alert Bay, BC, Canada 
Deer Plaque Carvings and Plaques

Deer Plaque

By Don Alfred

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Carved by Don Alfred

10"h. x 10.5"w. x 1.5"d.

The Deer in the Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology

Franz Boas, the famous anthropologist who studied the Kwakwaka'wakw with the collaboration of George Hunt, explains the importance of the Deer in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology: "Wolf, Mink, and Deer are chiefs of the myth people. Deer is a younger brother and warrior of O'mat. He appears as warrior on the expedition of the myth people to get salmon woman (and when the myth people make war against Southeast-Wind).

 On the return journey he jumps from one salmon canoe on to the other, thus breaking them. He is the Fool Dancer of the myth people and as such is their warrior when he becomes excited. (…) He obtains the fire from sea otter who carried it on his tail. (…)When O'mat burns his folding-canoe and orders the myth people to scatter over the world he stays with Deer at Te'guxste. Finally O'mat transforms the Deer into an animal and drives him away.

About the artist Don Alfred

Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak̕wala Speaking People) artist Don Alfred was born in 1956. He was raised in Alert Bay, British Columbia. He is a member of the ‘Namgis (Alert Bay) First Nation and started carving in 1995; producing small wooden plaques, finely detailed and exquisitely painted. Since then he has moved on to larger pieces such as carved coffee tables with abalone inlay and masks. Don’s early influences include Beau Dick, Vincent Shaughnessy, Don Svanvik and Bruce Alfred, which is evident from his style of carving. His work is sold at the U’mista Cultural Centre and by private commission.

Don is very aware of his responsibilities to his culture and his art. His grandfather was the late Chief K̕odi Udzistalis, Alvin Alfred. His grandmother was the inspiring Mrs. Ethel Alfred who lived to the age of 96 and was still a very strong and active cultural advisor and teacher. Don’s father Christopher Alfred is the Hereditary Chief of the Sisant̕ła’yi (Came from the Sun) Clan of the ‘Namgis.

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