Cree artist Justin Rivard was born in Nanaimo on October 11, 1964. In 1985, Rivard’s father introduced him to native artist Ray Dumont who suggested he start carving. Rivard took him up on the offer, and began researching his ancestral roots, working in art galleries and spending time in the library analyzing different styles.
Through the 1990s, Rivard found a niche as a jewellery known for making unusual pieces from silver, such as lighter cases and business card holders, as well as some of the lesser seen objects such as cuff links, tie bars and money clips. His Spirit Beads have been exceptionally popular, as they fit the ever popular Pandora and Troll bracelets, and can also be worn with pendants, alone, or even on hair wraps.
Rivard’s work is clean, consistent and generally crafted from a thicker gauge of silver than most artists use. Pendants and rings with semi-precious gem stones are marveled at by collectors and other artists alike. Rivard has also applied oxidation to pieces, giving them an antiqued quality, and has created many beautiful overlay pieces.
Rivard works in both silver and gold, and silver & gold combinations. If you would like to custom order a piece, please contact us.
Wolf Spirit Bead by Justin Rivard
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