Jack, James

Jack James was born around 1915 on Gwa'yasdams (Gilford Island). A member of the Kwakwakaw'wakw First Nation. He was the father and teacher of Basil James (1938 - 2005). A totem pole in his honour, carved by his son Basil, stands in the city of Duncan on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The following is part of a recorded conversation between Basil James and his father, Jack James in 1988. It describes a flood story told in a community close to Mount Stephens, near Gilford Island, off Vancouver Island: 

Kwankwanxwalige' (Thunderbird) is on top of the pole. He came down from Mount Stephens, right after the flood. There was a little village there, we call it K'we. He took his Thunderbird dress off and he acted like a man. On the chest of this Thunderbird is a Giant, a Dzunuk'wa (Wild Woman). On the bottom of the pole is the Max'inuxw (Killer Whale) and on his fin is the Luwagila (Raven). The Killer Whales, they save a lot of men, they take them ashore.

Jack said of the symbols on this pole: They are all ours, our own (James family). Basil honoured his father by using the family crests in the carving.


Wild Man by Jack James, 1950's

Wild Man by Jack James, 1950's

OLD Wild Man Mask by Jack James


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