Artists of The Spirit Dancer Canoe

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper
Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper
Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper

1. Mairi lays design on Spirit Dancer Canoe

2. Pencil Portrait - Art Thompson (Nuu-Chah-Nulth)

3. Pastel - Homage to Picasso

4. Mairi Budreau

5. Mairi works on Monumental Drawing


Mairi Budreau

Mairi Budreau was born in Ontario and moved to BC in 1991. She has a lovely daughter and lives with her best friend and husband, Alan.

As a child, Mairi showed some artistic talent and was drawn to First Nations culture and traditions. As an adult her art was inspired by the Aboriginal people of BC.

Mairi had an informal 3-year apprenticeship with Bill Kuhnley Jr., (Nuu-Chah-Nulth) where she learned design, carving and painting, she also learned of the hardships experienced by Native people in the present day and read volumes about what had happened in the past. With this education and experience she channeled expressions of empathy, compassion and understanding of what had happened to Native people through her art.

Mairi created an exhibition of pencil-drawn portraits of some of BC’s finest First Nations artists in 1996 including Master Haida Artist, Bill Reid - the exhibition was known as Circle of Inspiration and was held at Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art.

Mairi is currently producing the largest totem drawing in the world, 24 feet.

Mairi met Chris Cooper 1998 and both  recognized their kinship toward Native people and it wasn’t long before Chris asked Mairi to design and paint the bow and stern of the Spirit Dancer Canoe.

Later, while she attended Vancouver Film School, she directed a student film about Chris Cooper and the Northern Dancer canoe in 1999. This film placed 2nd in an international student film competition.

Mairi is an accomplished photographer and recent graduate of the Graphic Design Program at Thompson Rivers University. She designs books and printed material for publication.

Mairi is designing Chris Cooper’s first book, Spirit Dancer tracing his journeys along the BC Coast which will be published in 2009.

Website: Budreau Publishing and Design

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris CooperSpirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper


Una-Ann is a Tahltan Artist, from northern British Columbia, born in Prince Rupert B.C. in 1959.
She is the mother of three. Una-Ann has worked as a cultural presenter and an aboriginal support worker in the Langley school district for the past thirteen years. Una-Ann was a member of the Fort Langley Artist Group for seven years participating in shows and presentations.

Una-Ann has established herself as an artist and clothing designer. Incorporating her traditional designs with a contemporary flair she works in various mediums including acrylics, pen and ink, fabric, leather and cedar. Una-Ann enjoys sharing her knowledge of aboriginal culture and westcoast art designs  with students and teachers.

Over the years Una-Ann has been involved with the traditional ways of the Sto:lo and Coast Salish people. She has learnt how to carve cedar,weave wool and cedar,as well as drum and sing traditional songs.For the past seven years she has been participating in the "Pulling Together" and "Tribal Canoe Journeys".

Una-Ann presently lives on the Musqueam reserve in Vancouver.  Her artwork and slothing can be seen at pow wow's, art & craft shows, conferences, and exhibits.

Teachings from our elders that have been passed down from generation to generation. Our elders tell us that we have been here since time immemorial. They tell us that many of our resources were at one time our ancestors. Our Ancestors carry us along, our traditional highways. With repect we raise our hands to our ancestors. We thank them for what they have given us, knowledge,wisdom,and spirituality.

Knowledge: Cedar the tree of life that provides us with what we need. Baskets from cedar root, clothing from the bark, shelter from the wood. Canoes and paddles made of cedar from the hands of those that are gifted.

Wisdom: Balance in our lives,that gives us strength. Pulling together, bringing balance that helps us along our journey. Respecting the waters that we travel.

Spirituality: Travelling the traditional highways, with good thoughts and a good heart, that inner peace that gives us a sense of identity, pride and self-esteem. The drumming and singing that lifts our spirits, that makes the canoe light as we travel on our journey. The serpent that guards and protects us.

Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper


Xwa-lack-tun was born and raised in Squamish. His mother is originally from Squamish and Alert Bay (Coast Salish, Kwakiutl) while his father was Coast Salish (Squamish). Xwa-lack-tun's works are seen throughout Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Various pieces have recently been arranged to be carved for a gallery in New York. He has also completed seven relief poles for homes in Whistler. Xwa-lack-tun has created many major pieces for the Squamish Nation Recreation Centers. Two salmon house post carvings, measuring twelve and half feet tall by three feet wide and carved in red cedar, were the focus of a carving course directed by Xwa-lack-tun through the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. There are more than eighty of his pieces in the School Districts within the Lower Mainland.

Healing and growth have become a central theme around the work Xwa-lack-tun does. By focusing on how the traditional stories relate to his own life, he shows us how to use this ancient knowledge to help heal ourselves. Respect for all people, regardless of race or religion is a central theme for him. The giving out of positive energy and seeing it come back through the kids is the reward that continues to feed Xwa-lack-tun's spirit. This spirit of love is pervasive through his work, whether it be in wood, paper, stone, glass, metal or simply with people. All things grow and are healed through love.

Artwork of Xwa-lack-tun: View the website.


Spirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris CooperSpirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris CooperSpirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris CooperSpirit Dancer Canoe Journeys 2008-2012, Chris Cooper