A legend about the west coast of Haida Gwaii “Duuguusd.” There was a village there that people would travel to to get to the best fishing grounds for halibut. Typically they would use smaller boats, carved from a single piece of cedar.
One day a canoe didn’t return. The search party eventually found the boat — but not the two fisherman.
Life went on, but people kept disappearing in the same spot. The villagers began to think that it might be because of a neighbouring village, who they were at odds with, might be trying to protect the fishing grounds. They sent out a larger war canoe, but it happened again! As before, they found the canoe, but not the warriors.
Finally two young warrior-trainees (about sixteen or seventeen years old) go out to the fishing spot in their smaller canoe. One had inherited a set of fighting-knives. These knives were traditionally tied with cord to the wrist, so one didn’t lose them in the water. Night came but the young warriors had not returned. The village sent out another war-canoe which found the boy’s boat — but also, a bit further on, a giant dead octopus floating upside down.
They realized something was inside, so they cut it open and discovered the two boys. But while they had killed the octopus, both had perished in the battle.
Christian was born in Queen Charlotte City and raised in Old Masset, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia). He is from the Dadens Yahgu’7laanaas Raven Clan and his Haida name is Kilthguulans (Voice of Gold). He started carving argillite at the age of fourteen under the direction of his father, Morris White. He studied the work of the great masters and especially of his great-great-grandfather Charles Edenshaw. A self-supporting artist since the age of seventeen, Christian shows an advanced knowledge of Haida forms and an emerging personal style based on narrative story telling and strong use of inlays of various materials, even in his earlier pieces.
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