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


British Columbian Haida artist Bill Reid, jeweller and wood carver, works on a totem pole in the Haida Indian tradition. The film shows the gradual transformation of a bare cedar trunk into a richly carved pole, a gift from the artist to the people of Skidegate, Queen Charlotte Islands. Particularly moving is the raising of the pole by the villagers, as Bill Reid stands by.

Director: Jack Long
Producer: Penni Jacques
Producer: George Johnson
Producer: John Taylor
Photography: Jack Long
Photography: David Geddes
Photography: Rudy Pentisch
Sound: Richard Patton
Sound: Robert Young
Editing: George Johnson
Sound: John Knight
Sound: Barry P. Jones
Animation: Svend-Erik Eriksen
Music: Fred Stride
Music: Dave Robbins

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