William Firebird is a native of British Columbia presently living in California. Although he is self-taught, he studied printmaking for a short time at Capilano College in North Vancouver. His work is traditional in form and content and is derived from his love for early Haida designs. Most native artists have been influenced by contemporary currents in Art; Firebird has remained true to the traditional early art forms. The simplicity of his work lends itself well to the Gravure techniques and is cherished by collectors of native art.


Amid the mist and rain of the once-virgin forests along British Columbia's coast, the Tsimshian-speaking people have long known of a rare white bear, a SPIRIT BEAR that they believe possesses great power. They call it moksgm'ol.

In this obscure subspecies of North American black bear most individuals are black, but about one in ten is white. They can also be orange, gold and white or even "pinto", with black and white patches. Recessive genes are probably responsible for this natural circus. No one has estimated the total population, since the bears range nearly 30,000 square miles. The Princess Royal Island is home to at least a hundred (perhaps ten of them white) and biologist Wayne McCory hopes to establish a SPIRIT BEAR Provincial Park there.

Our artist William Firebird has created a mystic image of this unique animal, and a special embossed printing technique is used to create a misty, almost ghost like image (left), that is intended to convey a feeling of spirit bear's special powers.

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