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The significance of the Eagle in many First Nations stories is that Eagle is used to represent perception and spiritual connection. Eagle feathers and down are sacred: traditionally Shamans believed in their healing powers and used them in a variety of ceremonial and ritual contexts such as honouring a respected guest. Eagle's down symbolized good luck, piece, welcome and friendship.
Legends credit Raven with releasing the Sun, Moon and stars into the darkness, bringing water and fish, and according to Haida lore, discovering mankind in a clam shell. He assisted the Creator in these works. Raven carries the powers, Raven could transform himself into any form at will. He loves to tease and to trick.
Killer whale is always regarded with respect and awe by Northwest Coastal people, thus they are subject of much fantasy and superstition. He is the King of the oceans, Great Spirit of the sea and ruler of the underworld. Orca is believed to be the reincarnation of deceased chiefs. He is the guardian of the sea, a symbol of longevity and is a close relation to humans. Legends encourage living in harmony with these great mammals, the Orca is the Guardian of strength and communication.
Of all the animals, Wolf has the strongest supranational powers. Through his intelligence, he warned others of the great flood. Wolves are the most proficient hunters of all the land animals and are highly respected for their ability. Since this ability can be conferred on people, they are often sought after as spirit aids by Natives hunters. Wolves mate for life and are a symbol of togetherness and communication.
Dean Heron, born in 1970, is Kaska/Tlingit and member of the Wolf Clan from Liard, Yukon. His parents encouraged him to search out his heritage from a young age. In the early 1990’s Dean started to pursue a lifelong commitment to learning First Nation’s art with the encouragement and support of his wife. He began designing and painting at first, but wanted to learn to carve. In 2006, this took him back to the north - to Terrace, B.C. where he began formal training in drawing, design, tool-making and carving under prominent Northwest Coast artists Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, and Dempsey Bob at the Freda Deising School of Northwest Coast Art. In the spring of 2007 Dean was recognized by the Northwest Community College with the Dr. Freda Diesing Award. He graduated from the First Nations Fine Arts program with Honour’s in 2008.
Dean’s work can be found in private collections, including the High Commission of Canada in Canberra Australia; University of British Columbia Aboriginal Fisheries Centre; Vancouver British Columbia Canada, The Norwegian Royal Family, and throughout public and gallery collections in Canada, United States, Germany, Hong Kong and China.