Our gratitude and acknowledgements

Posted by Karin Clark on

An excerpt from one of our first books Learning by Designing: Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art, Volume 1.

Northwest art style potlatch pole top

Before we did a major overhaul of Raven Publishing’s website, the following excerpt was on our homepage. It was there for a reason. This excerpt shows our endless gratitude to and acknowledgement of our family and friends and the First Nations artists and colleagues who informed the knowledge and designs in our books about Native American and First Nations art of the Pacific Northwest. 

Even though this excerpt was first written two decades ago and published in Volume 1 in 2000, our gratitude to everyone who supported us to make this knowledge available to future generations hasn’t changed. We’re very glad to repost this now.

Please note: When it comes to the list in the following excerpt of First Nations master artists and teachers who contributed to the revival (see below), please remember these acknowledgements were written over 20 years ago, and it’s not an exhaustive list. The list in this excerpt only includes people co-author Jim Gilbert knew personally or knew of at the time it was written.

Learn more about the featured totem pole design in this blog. 

Acknowledgements (Excerpt from Volume 1)

We, the authors, wish to acknowledge and give thanks to the many First Nations people, in particular the elders, who have, over the years, shared their wisdom, knowledge, skills, stories, humour and unselfishly extended their hospitality and kindness. We owe these people an enormous debt. It is from this group of people that we have also learned to respect the artform and the culture from whence it originated and is inseparable.

Special thanks is extended to the Hunt family of Victoria B.C. for the opportunity afforded Jim Gilbert in the early 1970’s, to experience a traditional apprenticeship with master artists, at the Arts of the Raven workshop and the Thunderbird Park art training program.

Since the revival of traditional Northwest Coast First Nations art in the 1960’s, recognition must be given to those master artists who extended the opportunity for the training of others, which has ultimately led to the advancement and revitalization of the art.

The following is a list of some of the First Nations master artists, teachers and artists, who helped initiate, have sustained and contributed in the renaissance:

Mungo Martin, the Hunt family - Henry, Tony, Richard, Eugene, Stanley, Shirley, Calvin, Ross, George Jr., Tom, Tony Jr., Stephen, Jason; Mervyn Child; Bill Reid; Doug and Kevin Crammer; Sam, Don, Mark and Bill Henderson; Frank Nelson; Fah Ambers; Wayne and Bruce Alfred; Roy Henry Vickers; David Boxely; Chuck Heit; Simon and Beau Dick; Marvin Oliver; Stan Greene; Dwayne Simeon; Geg Colfax; Susan Point; Nancy Dawson; Nathan Jackson; Robert and Reg Davidson; Phil Janze; Ken and Victor Mowatt; Freda Diesing; Walter Harris; Vernon Stephens; Earl Muldoe; Ron Sebastian; Art and Neil Sterritt; Sam Wesley; Don Yeomans; Jerry and Russel Smith; Francis Williams; Clarence Mills; Doug Wilson; Norman Tait; Larry Rosso; Floyd Joseph; David Neel; Roy Hanuse; Stan Bevan; Ken McNeil; Dempsey Bob; Butch Dick; Victor and Carey Newman; Cicero August; Simon Charlie; Doug Lafortune; Francis Horne; Charles Elliot; Joseph Wilson; Terry Starr; Victor Reece; Henry Greene; Glenn Tallio; Jim Hart; Robert Jackson; Alvin Adkins; Glen Wood; Gerry Marks; Dale Campbell; Bradley Hunt; Art Thompson; Ron Hamilton; Joe David; Tim Paul; Patrick Amos; Lyle Wilson; Alfred Collinson; Danny Dennis; Clarence Wells; Bill Helin, and Leanne Helin.

Many non-native master artists, artists and teachers have also played a prominent role in the rebirth, understanding and growth of Northwest Coast art.

Non-natives are only now being recognized for their contribution in the renaissance of this great artform, whether it be in the production of original, fine quality native-style art, conducting classes or workshops, giving lectures, or writing articles and books. Artists with various cultural backgrounds who have contributed are in part:

Bill Holm, Duane Pasco, John Livingston, Phil Nuytten, Steve Brown, Ron Burleigh, David Forlines, David Horsley, Jim Bender, Barry Herem, Jay Haavik, Jerry Hill, Don Smith and the Lelooska family, Loren White, Greg Blomberg, Edith Newman, Glen Rabena, Gene Brabant, G. Mintz, Robin Wright, Henri Nolla, E. Arima, Tom Duquette, Tom McFee, Peter Grant, Tom Patterson and Brien Foerester.

An internationally recognized authority in the field of North American First Nations art and culture, is Bill Holm. This Seattle master artist, art historian, scholar, author and teacher, began an academic exercise in the mid-1950's which led to the publication in 1965 of a most influential book. Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form, has guided, influenced and educated more artists on the subject of two-dimensional Northwest Coast art than any other publication.

Since its release, Bill Holm has continued to contribute to the development, understanding and recognition of the artform and artists by structuring and teaching classes at the University of Washington in Seattle Washington and writing countless articles and books on the subject. For nearly half a century, Bill has generously supported, directed, encouraged and given guidance to many scholars, and artists.

Another Seattle non-native master artist is Duane Pasco. Essentially a self-taught artist, he is one of the most highly regarded creators of Northwest Coast Native-style art.

“A full-time professional artist and teacher since 1967, he has taught classes at the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Native Indian Art at 'Ksan in northern British Columbia, the Sitka Indian Cultural Centre and Ketchikan Heritage Centre, both in Alaska, as well as Universities and Colleges in Washington State.”[1]

In the early 1970's, Bill Holm stated, “Duane Pasco was the most important single contributor to the success of the revival of ‘Ksan... his instruction and example...set the direction and standard of the work.”[2]

Friends and Family

Jim’s parents, Harry and Mary Gilbert

Jim’s wife, Joan

Karin’s parents, Arnold and Irma Becker

Eric Lange

Lisa Becker

Roland and Aline Lange

Dixon Taylor

Bruce Obee

Ruth Cook

Margaret Klaassen


Joan Gilbert

Manuscript Review

Chief Tony Hunt

Carey Newman

Steve Brown

Ron Stacy

Reg Ashwell

Nella Nelson

Ron Burleigh

Ed Doerksen

Sue Coleman

Vernon Stephens

Jim Clayton

Edith Newman

Gary Hargreaves


Printing consultants, Art Thompson,

Grant Forrest and Gerhard Aichelberger 

Learn more about Raven Publishing Inc. and our authors

Thanks for reading this excerpt. Please read more about Raven Publishing Inc. and our authors and contributors here.


[1] Averill, L. and Morris, D. Northwest Coast Native and Native-style Art. A Guidebook for Western Washington. University of Washington Press 1995, p. 165.

[2] Bill Holm. ‘Ksan Breath of our Grandfathers - Art of ‘Ksan. National Museum of Man, Ottawa, 1972.