Portraits of the North
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The Manuela Dias book design and Illustration Awards - General illustrations category
Alexander Kennedy Ishister Award for Non-Fiction
Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book
McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award
This is a truly unique book. It offers an incomparable glimpse into the experiences and history of more than one hundred First Nations and Métis elders from Canada's North —“the last generation born on the land.” These stunning graphite pencil portraits are rendered with love, respect, and painstaking detail, along with gripping intimate profiles assembled from oral accounts and anecdotes.
Their poignant facial features, lines, and creases, weathered by the harsh outdoors and a lifetime of challenges, are like badges of their remarkable achievements, sustained resolve, inspired patience, and deep-set defiance to the hardships their people have endured for generations.
The masterful realism of Kuehl’s work helps uncover the tales of these seasoned individuals—their many triumphs and trials—revealing in turn a greater portrait of life in the communities of Northern Canada, a compelling homage, and an enduring historical legacy.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 juin 2017
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781988182438
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0112€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


of the

Text and art by Gerald Kuehl
Gerald Kuehl
You have five fingers.
I have five fingers.
Only the colour of our skin is different.
We are the same.
Sayisi Dene Elder Charles Learjaw,in conversation with the artist
© 2017 Vidacom Publications
ISBN 978-1-988182-40-7
Art Copyright © 2017 by Gerald Kuehl
Text Copyright © 2017 by Gerald Kuehl
All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means—graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems—without the prior written permission of the publisher, or, in case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from Access Copyright, the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency.
The publisher gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Manitoba Arts Council for its publishing program. We also acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Government of Manitoba through the Publishing Tax Credit Program for our publishing activities.

Design: Dave Maddocks, Shine Branding
Editor-in-Chief: Joanne Therrien
Editor: Ben Vrignon
Copy Editor: Lynne Therrien
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.
Legal deposit 2017
Library and Archives Canada
Manitoba Legislative Library

Vidacom Publications
Les Éditions des Plaines Book Publishers
P.O. Box 123 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2H 3B4
Printed and bound in Canada by Friesens Corporation

1. Acknowledgments
2. Preface
3. Introduction
4. Background Information
5. Portraits of the North collection
6. Drawing Process
Esther Linklater
Bella Beardy
Charles Learjaw
Betsy Anderson
Sammy Yassie
Rubina Yassie
John B. Moose
Sara Flett
Murray McKenzie
Percy Laubmann
Anna McLeod
Evelyn Jebb
Angus Cook
Samuel Bignell
Pierre O’Tennadzahe
Thomas St. Pierre
Alex Brightnose
Annie Crait
George Ferland
Adele Marie Thomas
Donald Northwest
Harriet Redhead
Edna Moose
Luke T. Moose
Charlie Kithithee
John Solomon
John Beardy
Rodney Beardy
Robert Baker
Helen Jane Ross
Joseph Irvine Keeper
Annie Spence
Minnie Anderson
Alex Thomas
John Colomb
Thomas Bird
George Oscar Anderson
Wilfred “Jake” Fortin
Dennis Whitebird
Absalom Cook
Stella Neff
Nicholas Halcrow
Wellington Spence
James Bear
Charlotte Wastesicoot
Martha Jonasson
Mary Courchene
Mabel Bignell
Theresa Bighetty
Albert Tait
Madeleine Spence
Jane Colomb
Malcolm Thomas
John McKay
Louise Mercredi
Edward McIvor
Emma Gossfeld
Winston Wuttunee
Jack Robinson
Andrew Young
Nebuchadnezzar “Neb” Flett
Ruby Lillian Bouchey
Duncan Mercredi
John Martin
Lawrence Douglas “Buddy” Brass
Francis “Mistigofer” John Turner
Daniel Highway
Betsy Flett
William Dumas
Allan Ross
Elizabeth Isbister
Jerry Woods
Ernest McPherson
Harriet Prince
Jackie McPherson
William Dysart
Gerald McKay
Percy Houle
Paul Chartrand
Ernie Blais
Jimmy Hunter Spence
Stanley Wilson
Curtis “Shingoose” Jonnie
Martha Spence
Louis Bird
Robert Ducharme
Philip Michel
Clayton Chief
Ernest “Ernie” Samatte
Noah Massan
Joan Ledoux
Lorne C. Keeper
Sally Bourassa
Sarah Harper
Alma Mann Scott (Kakikepinace)
Myrtle Abraham
Joseph Meconse
1 Acknowledgments
I dedicate this book to the
Métis and First Nations elders
appearing on these pages.
I feel blessed that you have
entrusted me with sharing
your portraits and stories
with the world.

Thank you,
Reg Simard—For helping me on my path twenty yearsago. Where has the time gone? Know that I value ourfriendship dearly.
Brother William (Dumas)—You have taught me agreat deal. I have truly enjoyed my time with you, yourwife Margaret, and your family—and thank you forintroducing me to what I still consider to be the bestcuisine in the North.
My younger “brother,” Kevin Brownlee, esteemedCurator of Archaeology at the Manitoba Museum andhis wife, Dr. Myra Sitchon—It has been a great pleasureknowing you both all these years.
Calm Air and Brian Berry—For the guest pass thatflew me to Tadoule Lake that first time. Thank you toyour wife Margo and her sisters Marion and Monica—the three daughters of Carl and Gail Morberg (foundersand original owners of Calm Air), for sponsoring manyof my Northern travels.
James and Elma Dean—For your kind hospitality inThe Pas during those early years.
Mary Lou Milhausen—Meeting you during Treaty Day inTadoule Lake in 1999 was immensely fortuitous. Thanksfor the assistance ever since.
The late Marcia Carroll—Who held my first soloart exhibition in 2000 in her Precambrian ArtGallery in Thompson. You did an outstanding jobover those many years, especially in regard torepresenting local artists.
Guenther and Carmen Hilles—For your hospitality onmy very first trip to Thompson. Carmen, you have mygratitude for getting me on that train to Pikwitonei.
Cecil and Cathie Ames—Thanks so much for finding mea place to stay on such short notice during my first visitto Tadoule Lake. You are an extraordinary couple.
Roxanne Chan—For letting me stay in your homein Churchill and the excellent tour of the town andDene Village.
Ron and Elaine Beardy—For your kind invitation tostay with you in Cross Lake.
Warren Gogel—For constructing my drawing tablein 2002, which I still use today. It was a welcomereplacement for the crippling Black and Deckerworkbench I had employed for the previous six years.
Frederick Soucy—For allowing me to hop in while youwere on your way to Lac Brochet. My photos alwaysbring back fond memories of that fourteen-hour slog.
The late Tom Ellis—I’ll never forget our winter roadjourney to Tadoule Lake in your rebuilt 1975 Jeep. I wishwe could have shared more adventures. Your bold spiritis deeply missed.
Frank Fieber, publisher of Northroots magazine—For including my “Portraits of the North” feature from2005 to 2015 in your outstanding Northern Manitobapublication.
Gerald McKay, the Grand Rapids “ambassador”—Thanks for always having a room for me. My visitsnever lack excitement and are always educational.
Derek Owen—An excellent photographer who, over adecade ago, showed me how to properly use a camera.
Rachel Dutton, Executive Director of the Manitoba InuitAssociation (and who is from my hometown)—Thanksfor sharing your perspective, that of someone who haswalked among another culture for over two decades.
Ken Gigliotti, award-winning photographer for theWinnipeg Free Press—Over the last thirty-five years,Ken has travelled on assignment to many settlementsand reserves in Northern Manitoba. Seventeen yearsago, he reminded me how fortunate I was for beingallowed into the homes of Aboriginal people for thesake of this project. I haven’t forgotten.
The late Leslie Turner—You were a gentle spirit. I greatlyenjoyed your hospitality and deeply miss your friendship.
Lorne Keeper—For your advice and support. A bigthanks also to the rest of the “Breakfast Club” regulars:Dan Highway, the late Alvin Chartrand, Jim Bear,Jonathan Flett, and Kim Sigurdson. You have taughtme much about what really goes on in your world.And John Melnick—you are now an official member.
A special thank you to my good friend Rob Peters,whose sage advice has guided and encouraged metoward publishing my work. It’s always a delight tospend time with you and Evelin.
My wonderful wife, Sara—You still put the windin my sails.
My sons, Kyler and Cade—Who grew up in a houseadorned with portraits, and had only one complaint:“Someone is always looking at us!” Cade, thanks somuch for the many hours you spent editing.
My siblings, John, Judy, and Sandra—Thanks for yourencouragement over the years.
Thanks so much to Joanne Therrien and her colleaguesat Vidacom Publications for their commitment anddedication to this book.
A big thank you to the countless friends and relativesof those I’ve drawn over the years for your time, stories,and friendship. The list has grown incredibly over thelast two decades. You know who you are.
Lastly, to the Métis and First Nations citizens I’ve hadthe fortune to meet, interview, photograph, and draw. Itis an honour and a privilege to tell your stories.

Gerald Kuehl
2 Preface
I have been drawing Canada’s Indigenous peoplefor the past twenty years. Their stories of struggle,hardship, and triumph have made this the mostrewarding, yet

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