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News from the Pacific Northwest

New book features 25 years of April White;s work

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. - A new book, ''Sgaana Jaad: Killer Whale Woman,'' features 25 years of Haida artist April White's art along with accompanying legends and stories, as well as White's poetry.

The hardcover book, published by Maradadi Pacific Publishing, features more than 40 paintings and hand-pulled serigraphs. White's work is on display in collections and galleries around the world; until this book, her work has been accessible to the public only through art stores, gallery showings and museum exhibits.

White signed copies of the book at a June 6 event at The Whale Museum on San Juan Island, where she lives part-time. She said the museum was a fitting venue, since Sgaana Jaad, Haida for ''Killer Whale Woman,'' is her Haida name.

White is a descendant of Haida artist and chief Charles Edenshaw. A self-taught artist, she has been painting since the early 1980s. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the University of British Columbia and worked as a geologist in remote areas of the Canadian West. She said that experience helped her develop the visual faculty essential to creating her works of art.

Among her prominent works is the painting ''White Raven's Moonlit Flight,'' which was adapted as a Pendleton blanket.

Swinomish artist Kevin Paul carves canoe for museum

SWINOMISH, Wash. - Swinomish master carver Kevin Paul is carving a 10-foot canoe for the Children's Museum of Skagit County.

Paul, who is also a member of the Swinomish Senate and a noted traditional singer, is creating the canoe as a hands-on piece of art into which children will be able to climb and travel on imaginary journeys.

The canoe is the latest piece of public art created by Paul. Other works include the Spirit Wheel at La Conner's Maple Hall, the 16-foot story pole near La Conner Town Hall and a set of interior entry poles for the Children's Museum.

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Paul's apprentice, former logger Mark Selvig of La Conner, made slab cuts with his chain saw. Paul instructed him how to hold the saw to make a smooth and straight cut. Both worked the saw and it took them five hours to accomplish this stage.

The finished canoe will be located at the museum, but will also be part of a traveling exhibit to other children's museums. Kate Melcher of the Children's Museum located funding for the project.

Four women honored at sixth annual leadership forum

QUINAULT, Wash. - Four American Indian women received the Enduring Spirit Award for their work in health care and cultural preservation.

The awards were presented at the sixth annual Native Women's Leadership Forum, ''The Emerging Force of Native Women in Politics,'' May 8 at the Quinault Beach Resort in Ocean Shores.

The recipients were Wilma Arquette, Eastern Shoshone, chemical dependency counselor at the Seattle Indian Health Board's Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program; Juanita Jefferson, Lummi, director of the Lummi Nation Archives; Charlotte Kalama, Quinault, elder and renowned basket maker; and Viola Riebe, Hoh, historian and storyteller.

State Rep. Lynn Kessler, House majority leader, was keynote speaker at the luncheon. Other forum speakers included Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache and candidate for Arizona's 1st District seat in Congress.

At the forum, participants discussed ''Looking at 2008 & Beyond,'' exploring the critical leadership contributions of Native women in addressing key issues impacting children, culture, elders, environment, family and health.

Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at