CBC Digital Archives

Bill Reid remembered

Bill Reid spent his life confronting public opinion. The artist, who was of Haida and European descent, was largely credited with inspiring a Haida renaissance with his masterful works of art. Some viewed Reid as a curiosity – an artist who navigated his way through two dissimilar worlds. Others viewed him with a more cynical eye and criticized him as a mimic with manufactured ties to the Haida community. CBC Archives explores the esteemed, influential and at times controversial career of Bill Reid.

media clip
On March 13, 1998, Bill Reid passes away at the age of 78 following a long struggle with Parkinson's disease. In this CBC Television report, friends and colleagues discuss Reid's rich legacy as a statesman and representative of the Haida culture. "He brought awareness of the art of his people very forcibly into the awareness of Canadians and that's an important thing, it's our history," says biographer and friend Doris Shadbolt.
• Two weeks after Reid's death, over one thousand people gathered at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology to commemorate his life. The ceremony, featuring songs, speeches, dance and poetry readings, ran six hours long.

• On July 3, 1998, friends and relatives embarked on a two-day journey to return Bill Reid's ashes to Skidegate. The procession paddled Reid's Loo Taas canoe up the coast to Tanu Island. Reid's ashes were buried by the forest and marked with a simple headstone that read "In memory of Iljuwas, Yalth-Sgwansang."
Medium: Television
Program: Broadcast 1
Broadcast Date: March 13, 1998
Guest(s): Ed John, Doris Shadbolt
Host: Gloria Macarenko
Reporter: Dale Drewery
Duration: 2:04

Last updated: February 6, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

1986: Sprucing up Stanley Park's tattered tot...

The totem poles in Vancouver's Stanley Park are in need of repair, but it will take a lot of m...

Artists Busted: Censorship in Canada

In the 1960s, police busted a gallery owner for an installation of nudes. More recently, when ...

The Life and Legend of Bill Reid

Bill Reid spent his life confronting public opinion. The artist, who was of Haida and European...

The Group of Seven: Painters in the Wildernes...

Around 1912 a loosely knit group of artists began to paint Canada as they saw it. Sketch boxes...

1967: N.S. censors afraid of Virginia Woolf

The Nova Scotia Board of Censors bans the "obscene and blasphemous" film adaptation of Edward ...

1990: Saving Sniffy

As part of a Vancouver performance art piece, a furry brown and white rat named Sniffy faces d...