The Arts

In the film excerpts under this theme, an Inuit stone carver, a Wendat artist and a Maliseet painter reflect on the role of art; a wood carver descended from the Haida and a Mi’kmaq painter talk about their sources of inspiration.


Bill Reid

Bill Reid 1

Kwa'nu'te': Micmac and Maliseet Artists

Kwa'nu'te': Micmac and Maliseet Artists 2

Kwa'nu'te': Micmac and Maliseet Artists 1

Bill Reid

1979, Director: Long, Jack

excerpt 1      2 min 18 s


Description Bill Reid explains that cedar, the ideal material for making totem poles, plays a central role in Haida culture. He says that he is torn between the traditional approach to totem sculpting, whereby the artist reveals a shape already hidden in the wood, and a modern approach where the artist creates the shape.
Questions 1. What 3,000-year-old tradition is Bill Reid building on through his art? What is the importance of continuing such a tradition?

2. The Haida people depend upon their close relationship with nature. In light of this, what do you think Bill Reid means when he states: “The whole culture of these people [the Haida] was built around the cedar tree and the salmon”?

About This Film

Short Description

Haida wood carver Bill Reid goes to the Queen Charlotte Islands to work on a totem pole, a gift to the people of the Skidegate community. The film shows the steps in production from bare cedar trunk to richly carved pole.

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