Charlie James (1867–1937) was a premier carver and painter from the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation of British Columbia. Also known by his ceremonial name Yakuglas, he was a prolific artist and activist during a period of severe oppression for First Nations people in Canada.
Yakuglas’ Legacy examines the life of Charlie James. During the early part of his career James created works primarily for ritual use within Kwakwaka'wakw society. However, in the 1920s, his art found a broader audience as he produced more miniatures and paintings. Through a balanced reading of the historical period and James’ artistic production, Ronald W. Hawker argues that James’ shift to contemporary art forms allowed the artist to make a critical statement about the vitality of Kwakwaka'wakw culture. Yakuglas’ Legacy, aided by the inclusion of 123 colour illustrations, is at once a beautiful and poignant book about the impact of the Canadian project on Aboriginal people and their artistic response.
‘Yakuglas’ Legacy is unreservedly recommended for community and academic library Canadian Art History collections and supplemental studies reading lists.’(James A. Cox Mid-West Book review January 2017)
“Many of the photographs in this book have not previously been published, and some works that have been reproduced before, such as [Charlie] James’s paintings, appear for the first time in color. Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Times of Charlie James makes a major contribution to the literature on Northwest Coast Art that will support undergraduate research as well as the historical research of carvers themselves.” (Carolyn Butler-Palmer First American Art Magazine, Summer 2017)
"It is definitely time that a comprehensive book on Charlie James be undertaken to complement studies on Willie Seaweed, Mungo Martin, and others. Ronald Hawker recognizes the multiple histories and multiple competing narratives in the material gathered here and crafts a story we have rarely heard before. It is a story well told."(Allan J. Ryan, New Sun Chair in Aboriginal Art and Culture, Carleton University)
"Yakuglas’ Legacy is an attractive yet serious contribution to the literature on Northwest Coast art."(Aldona Jonaitis, Director, University of Alaska Museum of the North)
"Ronald Hawker’s endeavour to explore the material objects – the pieces in the collections–and then make relevant, illuminating connections with broader social, political, and economic events is an excellent model for future researchers."(Cara Krmpotich, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto)