IN MEMORIAM: Bill Reid (1920-1998)

Bill Reid, book illustrator

Illustrations and extracts from Christie Harris, Raven's Cry, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1966.
photography: Jacqueline Vincent

CMC VII-B-1850 (S98-385)
"The Queen Charlotte sailed southward through summer fogs, rain, and sunshine. Again and again she stood off the Haida coast to barter for sea otter skins. And she found people avid for things other than iron chisels.... [Captain Dixon] bowed courteously towards a chief in a magnificent Killer Whale canoe."

CMC VII-B-1853 (S98-386)
"The Haida fleet approached Kiusta from the northeast.... The important thing was a proper welcome to the Alaskan visitors.... blackened slaves rushed into the surf to cast copper shields under the canoes of the greatest chiefs; while, magnificent in his regalia, an ancient but honored Kiusta chief danced on the beach.... Drums were beating; people were chanting on shore and in the canoes; paddles were dipping in ceremonial precision."

CMC VII-B-1854 (S98-387)
"A sudden squall delayed their departure for Kaigani. It was a fierce squall that snatched spray from giant waves and set the whole sea smoking. No Haida would cross fifty miles of treacherous ocean while the storm spirits were that angry!"

CMC VII-B-1856 (S98-384)
"Also on the north coast of Lak Haida that day was Kaigani Chief Kitzgalum.... He was at Masset when the infected canoes arrived. "Smallpox!" he gasped, shrinking away from the evil spirits.... Kiusta canoes were passing, full of sick people.... The villages of Lak Haida were to be wiped out."

CMC VII-B-1860 (S98-389)
"...they found the forest weeping over many a village it was reclaiming. Sometimes they found two or three people occupying a vast house that was mouldering away around them.... 'the authority of the chiefs is now very small,' the report stated.... 'most of the totem poles have been cut down through missionary influence.' ...The aristocrats of the North American Indian were dying out fast; their unique society was dying out even faster; a truly extraordinary culture was vanishing from the earth."