By Don Alfred
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Carved by Don Alfred
5"h. x 10"w. x 1.5"d. (10"h. with cedar)
The Raven in the Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology
"It is seldom expressly stated that the chief characters among the myth people, Kwekwaxa'we and O' mat are the raven, but in discussions about the tales the identification has been made repeatedly" write Franz Boas about the Raven and his importance in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology.
The famous anthropologist explains by instance: "They have a great many adventures many of which embody origins tales. He obtains the Daylight and fresh water, makes the river, fills them with salmon, marries a dead twin woman in order to obtain salmon. When unsuccessful in this attempt he abducts the daughter of the salmon chief. He liberates the daylight, secures the tides from the wolves, causes the tides to turn, obtains the fire and liberates the herring, obtains the soil, overcomes the Southeast Wind, and paints the birds."
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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