Northwest Coast Salmon

Northwest Coast Salmon Art Button Museum
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Northwest Coast Salmon button back Art Button Museum
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An illusration of a northwest coast salmon on a white background. 

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The drawing is named "Skaagi," or more commonly known as "Haida Dog Salmon" by Canadian artist Bill Reid. Reid was born to an European father and a Haida mother. The Haida are indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, situated in British Columbia, Canada. They are one of the First Nations in Canada. Reid explored his Haida cultural heritage and was deeply inspired by symbols and messages presented in Haida art.

The salmon is the main food source for the people of the Pacific Northwest, and the Haida people considered themselves "Salmon people." According to legend, salmons are humans with eternal life. In Springtime, the people dress in salmon disguises to feed the villagers and after consumption the villagers throw the skeleton back in the ocean, so the spirits would rise again and change back into human form. Therefore, the salmon is to be respected because it is both human and spirit.

Reid was a champion of the Haida people. He celebrate and defended his people by using his fame to support their land claims. He introduced the world to the art and people of the Pacific Northwest. 

(Source: Bill Reid Foundation. (2009). The raven's call / L'appel de corbeau. Retrieved August 7, 2014, from http://theravenscall.ca/)

Catalog ID: 
AR0170
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