KETIWTEL/Katekwa het Tom La Fortune is a member of the Tsawout First Nation who has connections to several families whose ancestral lands are in the southern part of what is now known as Vancouver Island. He finished his first carving when he was just 11 years old. In the years that followed, Tom has carved masks, rattles, paddles, dishes, talking sticks, single figures and countless poles. He has also made and painted drums. Today his work is distinguished by its fluidity and refined use of colour.
Tom's work can be found in collections all over the world. Some of his most notable works include the Harvest Time and Owl Spirit poles completed for Duncan's City of Totems project, the totem pole commissioned by CBC and featured on television coverage on the 1994 Commonwealth Games, a single owl figure overlooking the Ross Fountain at the world-famous Butchard Gardens in Victoria, S'ael, a twenty-five foot pole completed as part of Royal Roads University's 75 years of changing lives celebrations, and a Salish arch for the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site he has recently completed, all have special meaning. Tom lives with his partner Doreen in the Victoria area, close to his two sons and daughter and a large extended family.