Alvin Child has dedicated Haida Gwaii Salmon to the important role the salmon has played in Northwest coast life.
To the First Nation cultures of the Northwest coast, the salmon is a symbol of perseverance, self sacrifice, regeneration and prosperity. For thousands of years, this fish has been the primary food source for coastal people, and is held in high esteem for the important role it continues to play in Northwest coast cultures and ecosystems today.
There are five species of Pacific salmon: chinook, coho, sockeye, pink, chum. They differ in size, appearance and feeding habits, but they all hatch in fresh water, mature in the ocean, and return to their place of birth to spawn and die. This cycle of life is celebrated and respected by all Northwest coast cultures. As a sign of respect, salmon bones are returned to the water. The spirits will then rise, allowing the life cycle to begin again.
Northwest cultures believe that any shortages of salmon during any year can be attributed to a lack of respect for the salmon's life cycle, so the seasonal return of the salmon to their spawning grounds is celebrated to show appreciation for the salmon's sacrifice.
This celebration and the harvest are important aspects of Northwest Coast tribal life as they also involve the transfer of traditional values from generation to generation. This limited edition silkscreen print titled "Haida Gwaii Salmon" by Alvin Child was hand produced by the screen printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist has inspected and signed each copy in the edition. The printer has destroyed all trial copies and obliterated the printing stencils.