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
4 Lessons: Chiefs and Elders
5 Resurgence: The Great Canoes
6 Home Again: Coming Full Circle