SCOW, Alfred




Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors

Inspired by her Coast Salish heritage, Darlene Gait of Shawnigan Lake has illustrated Secret of the Dance (Orca $19.95), a collaboration between Pender Islanders Andrea Spalding and Judge Alfred Scow, Elder of the Kwakwa’wakw First Nation and member of the Order of Canada. For children aged 4 to 8, it recalls a forbidden potlatch held in Kingcome Inlet in 1935. In 1961, Alfred John Scow became the first Aboriginal in B.C. to graduate from UBC law school and was called to the bar the following year. In 1971, he became the first legally-trained Aboriginal in B.C. to become a provincial court judge, serving until 1994. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from UBC in 1997. 1-55143-396-6

[BCBW 2006]

Secret of the Dance
Info (2006)



Secret of the Dance (Orca) by Pender Islanders Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow, and illustrated by Darlene Gait, is a finalist for the Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year. It describes a forbidden potlatch at Kingcome Inlet in 1935 as witnessed by Alfred Scow when he was a eight-year-old boy. Now an elder of the Kwakwa’ka’wakw Nations, Scow is a retired judge who received the Order of Canada. Born in Alert Bay in 1927, Scow sailed with his family from Gilford Island to attend the potlatch as a memorial for his grandfather. It was especially dangerous for children to participate in such events because government officials were known to confiscate children found illegal potlatches and remove them from their families. Told he couldn’t attend, Scow sneaked inside to watch his father dance. The anti-potlatch law was rescinded in 1951. 1-55143-396-6