'Namgis artist John Lancaster grew up in the small fishing village of Alert Bay, located on Cormorant Island off the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island. His family crests include Wolf and Sun. In 1986, John began learning to design and engrave jewellery with indigenous designs representing his cultural teachings and traditions. His cousin Alfred Seaweed was instrumental in teaching him the skills employed for fashioning jewellery from silver, copper and gold.
Jennifer began selling John Lancasters work in 1991, as a volunteer in the Campbell River Museum. She later met him while working for Ellen Portman of Crescent Moon Gallery, and was delighted to purchase from him directly when Copper Moon Gallery opened in 2004. John Lancaster resides in Victoria on southern Vancouver Island, and continues to create beautiful and timeless adornments. We accept custom orders for this artist.
Copper & Silver Wolf Pendant by John Lancaster
The Kwa’wala word for Wolf is u’ligan. Wolf is the ancestor of the Dzawada’enuxw people of Gwa’yi (Kingcome Inlet) and the Haxwa’mis of Wakeman Sound. Historical accounts speak of the wolf who survived the great flood by ascending a high mountain, and began howling to see if anyone would answer. It was the Gusgimukw who answered the call and this was when wolves changed into men and became the ancestors of the Dzawada’enuxw and Haxwa’mis. Though the wolf dance was not shared for many years outside of the family, it has now been gifted to several families from other villages that now have rights to the Wolf Dance and its forty songs.
Often viewed as sly and cunning, clever Wolf is a storyteller known for valuing kinship. The social organization of wolves is very similar to both Killer Whales and Humans, as they mate for life and travel in packs. They are fierce protectors of their young, and cooperate as a team.
Abstract Wolf and Bear designs can look quite similar, so always look for a long snout, a small, elegant paw, and a long tail vs a short snout, claw and short tail seen on bear designs.
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)
Campbell River Museum & Archives
U'mista Cultural Centre Museum Online Resources