HAWKER, Ronald W.




Author Tags: First Nations

The so-called Dark Ages between 1922 and 1961 saw the deterioration of First Nations art in B.C. thanks largely to government assimilation policies, denial of land rights, banning of the potlatch and religious oppression—for starters.

In Tales of Ghosts: First Nations Art in British Columbia, 1922-61 (UBC Press 2003), Ronald W. Hawker reclaims that era of artistic decline by arguing that art continued to be an important factor for indigenous and non-indigenous people in the province. Subjects include the Cranmer Potlatch and Indian Agent William Halliday, the totem poles in Stanley Park, federal projects in the late 1920s, George Raley and Depression-era reform in British Columbia, the role of Alice Ravenhill, the 'resistance' art of Mathias Joe, Mungo Martin, and George Clutesi, the Totem Pole Carver Training Program, the Totem Pole Preservation Committee and the case of the Gitanyow.

Yakuglas’ Legacy (University of Toronto Press 2016) by Ronald W. Hawker examines the life and times of Charlie James (1867-1937), also known by his ceremonial name Yakuglas, who was a premier carver and painter from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation of British Columbia. Hawker examines James’ transition from art that was primarily ceremonial to more contemporary art in the 1920s, which allowed James to make critical statements about the vitality of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture during a time of oppression for First Nations people in Canada. The son of a Kwakwaka'wakw mother and an American father, he is often cited for playing a key role in the revival of totem pole carving among his people.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Tales of Ghosts: First Nations Art in British Columbia, 1922-61

BOOKS:

Hawker, Ronald W. Tales of Ghosts: First Nations Art in British Columbia, 1922-61 (UBC Press, 2003)

Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Times of Charlie James (U of Toronto Press) $85.00, ISBN 978-1-4426-4940-8

[BCBW 2016] "First Nations"