“NOW all I want to do is show the world NATIVE PRIDE. CANADIAN NATIVE PRIDE.”
As a long time professional artist, I am always interested in making public art. When I was younger, I only thought of having my family and neighbors see my works. Then I moved off the Kispiox Reservation and wanted the province to see my art works. In 1985 I moved to Ottawa, I thought the whole country could be my audience. Then the Olympics came to Vancouver, I wanted the world to see what I can create. NOW all I want to do is show the world NATIVE PRIDE: CANADIAN NATIVE PRIDE.
My ancestors and our lands have been foremost in my mind for most of my life. Some years I hunt and fish more than I carve. And so treaty making and politics are big in my life. I worked for my Gitxsan Chiefs for most of my life. Listening to and helping my Chiefs and elders, hunting and fishing for my Kispiox people, standing up for the tribe in court and on the land, road blocking. All that is fun to me, makes me proud to be Native.
All my histories and all my life comes out in my art works. The humor of events in my life, tragedies, accomplishments, lessons learned. Some years ago I noticed that I have created a lot of self portraits. This is my way of not breaking my Gitxsan laws of ownership of crests, who could claim to own a picture of me. And I have always enjoyed depicting my Gitxsan tribe’s cultural hero/teacher WiiGyet (BigMan, Raven). For my young children I started to write my own stories of HisOwn true modern day myths. Art of all kinds is important for all civilizations, not just my Gitxsan or Canadian civilizations.
Ya'Ya Heit is a carver from the Kispiox Band, Gitxsan Nation, B.C.