The Way Home

9780774890410: Paperback
Release Date: 1st October 2019

9780774890427: PDF
Release Date: 1st October 2019

100 colour photos, 37 b&w photos

Dimensions: 203 x 254

Number of Pages: 200

UBC Press

The Way Home

Crafted from memories, legends, and art, this powerful memoir tells the uplifting story of an Indigenous man’s struggle to reconnect with his culture and walk in the footsteps of his father and the generations of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artists that came before him.
Paperback / £21.99
PDF / £27.00

David Neel was an infant when his father, a traditional Kwakiutl artist, returned to the ancestors, triggering a series of events that would separate David from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When the aspiring photographer saw a mask carved by an ancestor in a Texas museum, the encounter inspired him to return home and follow in his father’s footsteps. Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art, Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture and become an accomplished Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist. His memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

Foreword by Carolyn Butler-Palmer


1 Beginnings: Far from Home

2 Photography: Transformation

3 Masks: Homecoming

Interlude: Paintings

4 Lessons: Chiefs and Elders

Interlude: Prints

5 Resurgence: The Great Canoes

Interlude: Jewellery

6 Home Again: Coming Full Circle

David A. Neel, carver, jeweller, painter, printmaker, writer, and photographer, comes from a family of traditional Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artists, including Dave Neel Sr., Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin, and Charlie James. In addition to apprenticing with carvers in Alert Bay, he received training in writing and photography from the University of Kansas and Mount Royal College in Alberta. He is the author of Our Chiefs and Elders: Words and Photographs of Native Leaders (1992) and The Great Canoes: Reviving a Northwest Coast Tradition (1995). He is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw traditional art and culture.