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An Aboriginal Presence

An Aboriginal Presence

Sara Constance Smith Martin (1899-1963)

When Sara Martin, also known as Tlakwagila'ogwa (Copper Maker Woman) was born, so many Kwakwaka'wakw men had died in epidemics that men's names were sometimes given to daughters of chiefs. She received a man's name, Gixkandzi (Too much a chief). Later she was called Abaya'a by her grandchildren.

Sara Martin appeared in Edward Curtis's 1912 film, In the Land of the Headhunters. Like many women of her generation, she spoke very little English. She worked in canneries and picking hops. She knitted, crocheted and wove and hooked rag rugs. Her husband, Kwagu'l artist, Mungo Martin, drew the designs for her hooked rugs and sweaters.

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