Claude â€˜Rockyâ€™ LaRock was born in 1958 in Seattle, Washington. At 12 years of age, Rocky moved to his motherâ€™s Coast Salish homeland, the beautiful little community called Stsâ€™ailes, nestled at the foot of Mt. Hemlock, located in the Fraser Valley.
For four decades Rocky has built a successful career as a first Nations artist showcasing his work in galleries, businesses, and private collections. Rocky also uses his talents to teach First Nationsâ€™ culture and art in many institutions such as the First Nations Correctional facility, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the community Stsâ€™ ailes school.
Rockyâ€™s art is greatly influenced by the forests, surrounding wildlife, and a lifestyle rich in Coast Salish culture. Rocky continues to reside with his family in Sts â€˜ailes and is an active member of the community and cultural traditions.
Carrie is a freelance writer who grew up on property in Northern Mission and now resides in Deroche, BC with her husband, son, and four-legged companions. She has always been drawn to words and language and began writing short stories in grade school, moving on to pursue English and Social Media & Culture studies post-secondary. She has contributed to several local publications through writing and editing and is a regular contributor to The Footprint Press. Since her move to Deroche five years ago, she established and maintains the website and social media platforms for â€œThe Deroche Decibelâ€ to help connect people and share local resources in her small and often isolated community.
Although writing has been a huge part of her life, her true passion has been the welfare of animals, both domestic and wild. She spent years working as a Veterinary nurse and now focuses much of her writing on compassionate ways to help the creatures around us. Carrie gains inspiration from spending time outdoors and reconnecting with nature and has a large list of hobbies including crocheting, reading, music, art, film, Eastern philosophy, cooking and nutrition.
Lovena is a native to Mission and now lives in Maple Ridge. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in Environmental Science and a focus in Applied Biology. She has worked with local groups such as the South Coast Conservation Program, Fraser Valley Conservancy, and the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition to raise awareness and enhance habitat for species and ecological communities at risk in the area. Her passion lies in environmental sustainability and she hopes to continue to undertake projects and follow a career that allows her to do what she loves.
Peter Gong was born in Mission B.C. and raised in Maple Ridge on Whonnock reserve #1. As a teenager, his uncle introduced him to west coast native art, in the form of carving wood and ivory. West Coast art has become a driving passion in his life, and he now works full time in his carving studio at his home in Mission . As an artist he wants to create new pieces that challenge his abilities and skills as a carver. Thanks go out to his friend and mentor Tom Patterson, and the late George Pennier (Leon), who have helped him develop as an artist.
Brandon has been a professional artist since he was 15 years and was recognized as an artistic prodigy at the age of 12. He was recognized for his contributions of Indigenous Arts by the Governor-General when he was 20.
Brandon was educated at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Cultural Anthropology and visual arts, and went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
He currently practices his art through an increasing amount of different types of media including painting, graphic design, metal sculpture, lighting design, photography, and will be returning to school for his second Bachelorâ€™s degree, this time he will be studying Motion Picture Arts studying at Capilano University in the fall of 2015.
Brandon has exhibited in the United States, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, South America, and across Canada.
The natural world has long been Gary Haggquist’s wellspring of inspiration. Memories of exploring the forests of his youth can still flood his senses with the sounds and smells of those wild places on the edge of suburbia. Like many of us however, traveling down the intersecting avenues andÂ returning to the comfort of my home every night, the wild remained very much â€œother worldly.” A longing for a deeper connection with nature later took him, through job experiences and personal trips, to many remote areas of B.C. and Manitoba. These years after art schoolÂ were onesÂ of soul searching and of gathering experience along theÂ path to finding his voice as an artist.
David Hancock has spent most of his life studying west coast and arctic wildlife. He has published scientific and popular books and papers on whales, seals, seabirds, grouse and his specialty, the northern raptors. Prior to starting Hancock House Publishers he was a pilot and wildlife film producer — again specializing in the native cultures and wildlife of the coast and north. He recently completed a book on eagles, The Bald Eagle of Alaska, BC and Washington and another book on the northwest coast Indians, Tlingit: Their Art and Culture. As well, he has a book on the Alaska-Yukon wildflowers nearing press. Currently he is undertaking studies of the bald eagles along the northwest coast and working on a sandhill crane breeding project. See www.hancockwildlife.org
Eddie Gardner (Tâ€™itâ€™elem Spath), born March 3, 1946 in Hope, BC is a member of the Skwah First Nation. He graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in the Social Sciences. Eddie worked for a variety of federal, provincial, First Nations and private sector employers in designing, coordinating, directing and delivering a broad range of programs and services from an Aboriginal world view.
Eddie is currently an Elder-in-Residence with the University of the Fraser Valley. Eddie conducts sweat lodge ceremonies, medicine wheel workshops, and provides Indigenous students with encouragement, guidance and support to achieve academic excellence. Eddie does lectures and presentations to classes on a variety of topics from an Indigenous perspective.
Eddie is devoted to working with First Nations authorities, Salmon Are Sacred, environmental groups, scientists to protect and restore wild salmon. Eddie believes an essential first step for restoring wild salmon is to remove open net feedlots from their migration routes due to deadly, mutating viruses and diseases stemming from those feedlots that could bring wild salmon to extinction.
Aurash understands that the shape of our planet is within the hands of the species with the most impact: humans. He is critical on the lifestyle of our species and how our industrial and household practices can alter the future of this world.Â Achieving a BSc. in Biology from The University of British Columbia,Â Aurash is a proponent of sustainability on all levels and he believes that the individual decisions each human takes, collectively has significant consequences on our species-level carbon footprint. Aurash believes that educating the public on environmentally-oriented issues is essential in order to become a “greener” species. By writing for the Footprint Press, Aurash aims to educate people on how commercial industrial practices (like salmon farming) can harm the environment and that by gaining this knowledge, each individual will consider taking more sustainable actions.
Chrissy believes in the combination of creativity and nature as both elements have this wonderful way of transforming into something sensational and fantastic.Â Plants and animals alike, have been her inspiration and motivation to draw and paint as every given opportunity is a chance for her to submerge herself into better understanding their form, behaviour, and significance. Each drawing presents the possibility to go beyond what she sees and knows, but to become personally connected through empathy.
Her enthusiasm for art making and passion towards the preservation of nature, exceeds the paintbrush and pencil as she dreams of an earth where plants, animals and humans live in a harmonious understanding. Art is the perfect instrument to express that dream.
She has been a student of art for a good portion of her life; she began to draw as a child growing up in Ontario. “Moving to British Columbia, two and half years ago was my calling to expand my knowledge and love of art through University education. As a tree-hugger, vegan, avid hiker and nature enthusiast, British Columbia’s backdrop of majestic mountains and lush vegetation has been and will continue to be my true calling.”