Carving Legacy

I’ve been carving Native art, from small pieces to large pieces, including totem poles, doors, panels, for the last thirty years now. I hadn’t really got too involved with art in my younger days. I was too much involved in politics. I met a man named Simon Charlie in the Cowichan Valley here. He was part of the Cowichan Tribes and a master carver. I loved listening to his stories. He told a ton of stories, from very simple, regular now-a-day people in Cowichan Valley to his relatives and who I’m related to in the Cowichan Valley and why. He talked about masks. He talked about totem poles–not just as totem poles, but as story totem poles. I totally enjoyed hearing that. He was one man who was connected with our people in the Valley here and with the needs of keeping our culture alive. He was the one man who I felt was not only connected to totem carving but to the feel of the wood. He left me with such a strong impression that 30 years after I started, I’m still carving. I still think about him. I still tell stories about him. In 2000, I picked up a contract with the City of Duncan to refurbish the totem poles in the City of Totems. Many of the poles that I refurbished were late Simon Charlie’s.