Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Sea Urchin Bowl


  • Medium: alder
  • Size: 7 × 17 × 17 inches
  • Reference Code: W30705

Collaboration with Lucinda Turner.

In 1982, I completed a commission for a 55’ totem pole, “Big Beaver”, for the entrance to the Field Museum in Chicago. I traveled with a Nisga’a delegation to Chicago to ceremonially raise the pole. In my address, I stated that a pole would only be erected on land that you owned — and thanked the city of Chicago for the gift of such a beautiful city. The Mayor, who spoke next, publicly presented me with the city! The Field Museum were in the midst of finalizing the protocols for the opening of a Maori exhibition and were asked to include a local welcoming, including a warrior contingent, to ensure that the intent of the Maori was a peaceful celebration on foreign soil in response to an invitation. Given my new ownership of the city, I was asked to make a return visit to Chicago with Nisga’a ceremonial warriors to welcome the Maori to Chicago. In return, they presented me with a ceremonial chief’s adze, and I will be wearing this to welcome the Maori to Vancouver.

The Sea Urchin Bowl is just a figment of my imagination. I do believe it has spirit, thus the little man on top. The designs along the sides are to enhance the spirit of the bowl.

Norman Tait

Norman Tait



Norman was born in 1941 in the northern community of Kincolith, British Columbia. He learned from his family protocols, oral histories and ceremonies and had an early interest in the arts. He carved the 16.5-metre (55-foot) totem pole for the entranceway to the Field Museum in Chicago and a totem pole commissioned by the British royal family for Bushy Park in London. He has carved and ceremonially raised five totem poles in Greater Vancouver, including at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology, Stanley Park, Capilano Mall and the Native Education Centre. He has conducted extensive research into Nisga’a art and is the foremost Nisga’a artist in wood, precious metals and graphics.