“Orca Chief”, A New Children’s Book By Roy Henry Vickers

roy_vickers_master-9008

by Grady Mitchell | “The human spirit yearns for pristine places,” says Roy Henry Vickers. Vickers is one of British Columbia’s most celebrated artists, known worldwide for his vibrant and serene natural landscapes. His paintings have been given as gifts to Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth. Around 400,000 visitors annually pass through his Tofino gallery, Eagle Aerie. He’s been named to the Order of BC and the Order of Canada, contributed to our successful Olympic bid, spoken around the world, and been a steadfast advocate for addiction recovery.

Now the beloved painter is celebrating the release of his latest book, Orca Chief, the third in a series of illustrated children’s stories he’s making with writer and historian Robert “Lucky” Budd. The book includes nineteen original illustrations by Vickers. The pair hopes the series will nurture a sense of responsibility in the next generation to stem and hopefully reverse the damage their forebears have caused the environment.

The project began when Vickers learned of a hereditary chief who’d signed a deal with an oil company to allow a pipeline to pass through his clan’s traditional lands. Vickers, who previously had abstained from using his fame as a political platform, felt compelled to speak up. “I was enraged,” he says. “I could not believe that someone whose ancestry came from the land, whose name came from the land, would sell their birthright.”

The first book in the series, Raven Brings The Light, tells the creation story of the sun. The second, Cloudwalker, explains the origins of BC’s three largest rivers, the Skeena, Nass and Stikine, when the titular character accidentally spilled water from the skies across the earth. Orca Chief follows four fishermen as they carelessly ignite the wrath of the legendary master of the ocean. A fourth book, The Flood, is slated for next year.

14 Heading Out

Each book is based on a tale Vickers was told as a child by elders in his home village of Kitkatla, a small Tsimshian village on the shore of the Skeena River, a few hours west of Prince Rupert. These legends had been passed down for millennia by his ancestors. Vickers revisited the stories as a young man struggling and feeling aimless in Victoria, when he would visit the Royal Museum and listen to recordings gathered by historian Imbert Orchard.

“As I developed as an artist those recordings became part of the way I thought,” he says. “All stories, all legends, the basic teaching is to respect the land, to respect our Mother Earth. We do not own the land. We cannot own our children. Our ancestors are part of the land and one day we will be. You must take care of the land.”

“We have become detached form the land,” he continues. “It’s like a child being separated from its mother.”

roy_vickers_master-9032

Although the main message of the books is environmental, they’re also packed with traditional wisdom across all aspects of life, Roy says. “The old story of peace is, if you work hard everyday of your life to make yourself a better person, you will know happiness,” he explains. “If you work hard everyday to help the old people and those who can’t help themselves in your community, you will know happiness. It all comes down to love.”

You can buy Orca Chief here, and to learn more about Roy and his work, visit the Eagle Aerie site.

EVERY COOL THING WE WANT

There are 0 comments

Cool Things We Want

Six Ways to Enable and Inspire Some Self-Care This Holiday Season

8 Places

We've thought up a short list of local products and services that we think might help inspire and enable a self-care ritual this season.

8 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for the Picky Food Lovers on Your Christmas List

From wine to chocolate, these gift ideas provide not only instant and delicious gratification, but also tasty reasons to come together.

23 Super Sure Things to Get the Local Wine Lover on Your Christmas List…

Skip the long haul trip to wine country; it's pretty sleepy this time of year and most of the Wine Club wines are exclusive to members anyways.

Defeating Winter’s Monotony With a Chilled Out Visit to Sunja Link’s Body Shoppe

Feel uneasy getting fawned over in extravagant settings? Try this understated spa treatment room with a humble vibe...