This painting is based on the Legend of the Caribou boy which originated in Dene oral tradition several generations ago. A young boy is having trouble sleeping at night because he is being called to fulfill his destiny. This destiny lives on today in the traditions and culture of the Dene people and their relationship to the caribou and the land on which they live.
The Dene people live in the boreal and arctic regions of Canada, their homeland lies between the Yukon and Nunavut, in northern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alaska and the southwestern United States . The term 'dene' is the Athabaskan word for 'people'.
The caribou image is my homage to Isaac Bignell, one of my favorite Woodlands Artists who was born in northern Manitoba and was gone from us when far too young. He was influenced by the history and traditions of the Cree people:
My art is strongly influenced by the traditional ways of my people. I was brought up to live off the land from an early age. Hunting and trapping, living in harmony with the the earth has taught me to respect the animals and the spirit and power of nature. I hoop dance and sing at Pow Wows to maintain my cultural heritage. Through art and dancing I attempt to influence native people to continue their cultural ways; the gift that was given to us by the Great Spirit.
AIRdirondack Art Project