When Nanimahoo’s Native Art Gallery opened its doors for business we did not realize the cultural impact this would have on our community. Not only did Audrey Nanimahoo create her own works of art — paintings, sculptures, jewellery, Indian artifacts — but she shared the customs and rituals of true Canadian heritage. All this was accomplished with the support of her husband, Bill, and those of us with a thirst for the knowledge of how this nation was carved. How many of us knew of the Spirit Bear and the fact that it actually exists; the lovely story behind the friendship feathers; the calming effects of smudging? Many clichés, myths and fallacies have been resolved or put into perspective through the enlightenment of my true Cree friend, Audrey.
Then came the (inevitable) day when Audrey’s success was challenged. I cannot comprehend how we could allow a personality of her stature to feel coerced into relocating. The injustice which has occurred in Revelstoke has reached the media of some major centres in Canada. She is internationally renowned for her exquisite creations and has had private showings as well as lucrative sessions with prominent dealers and collectors throughout Canada, the USA and Europe. We have a celebrated artist in our midst, but it is not to be. It is incomprehensible that Revelstoke does not embrace this enviable position. All of this because of a minor “dust” issue which could have been resolved with little effort.
There are many of us, Audrey, who thank you for your contribution to this community. Your friends all wish you and Bill the very best in your future home. Our loss is their gain.