Mungo Martin: A Slender Thread/The Legacy


Barb Cranmer


U'mista Cultural Society Barb Cranmer


Arts Diversity Indigenous First Nations
  • Release Date 1991
  • Running Time 18 minutes
  • Closed Captions No
  • Availability Canada, USA

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Mungo Martin: A Slender Thread/The LegacyMungo Martin: A Slender Thread/The Legacy

Mungo Martin was born in 1881 in the Kwakwaka'wakw village of Fort Rupert. From the time of his birth, Mungo underwent rituals under the guidance of his uncle to ensure that Mungo would continue the traditions of his people. At a young age he learned the basic skills of designing, carving, and painting in the Northwest Coast traditional style of the Kwakwaka'wakw and became a master carver of his time, creating totem poles, masks, and other potlatch objects. This two-part film is both a testimony to his work and a short biography of a man who was influential in restoring and reviving Northwest Coast art and culture.

"Mungo had a strong tradition. He was not only just a carver or artist, he was a statesman, a politician in his own society, an historian, a storyteller, a singer, a man of many accomplishments."    - Peter McNair, Royal British Columbia Museum

"I am grateful that we have been asked to talk about all of the ways that he was. He is the one who kept alive what we do again, what is called potlatch. He was the first one to do it openly. He taught many students, from the Hunts, and today there are many carvers because of the way Mungo was--that he was not selfish with his knowledge and skill... that is the accomplishment of Mungo, that he did not stop what he did... What he did was a fine thing and we still remember him today for the good things he did that remain today."    - Helen Knox, KWAGU'L Elder

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