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Sharing Native Culture Through Art

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Artist and BBNC shareholder Peter Lind Jr. understands the power that art has to educate and influence younger generations. As a boy, he watched his father create pieces rooted in Native culture—an experience that inspired him to forge his own artistic path.

Peter was born in Dillingham, grew up in Pilot Point and Naknek, and currently lives in Wasilla. His artwork, which has continued to evolve over four decades of experience, features traditional items from Alutiiq and Aleut cultures with a modern twist. He began with smaller works, including pins and earrings, working his way up to the detailed replicas of Aleut hunting gear, masks, bentwood visors from steamed Sitka spruce, and other pieces.

His artwork has been on display at museums and galleries in Alaska and the Lower 48, including the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. One of his pieces, a creative replica of a siphoning pump that was once used in kayaks, can also be seen at BBNC headquarters.

One of Peter’s main goals as an artist is to educate and preserve Native culture for younger generations— an objective he and BBNC have in common. “I’m glad that Bristol Bay Native Corporation is committed to helping protect our land and culture for the next generation,” he says. “Even if they don’t practice Native traditions, it’s important for them to have the knowledge, for it to be passed along.”

Peter hopes that his method of modernizing traditional items—such as adding dowels and materials representing different animals to wooden hunting visors—will create a spark and connection with young people. “Just as we have grown from traditional ways to modern ways now, I’m trying to show through art that we can grow while still honoring our heritage.”

Recently, Peter was named one of the Rasmuson Foundation’s 2019 Individual Artist Award winners. He plans to use some of the time he will have, thanks to the grant, to volunteer in local schools, teaching students about the Alutiiq and Aleut traditions that his art represents. Asked what he hopes to convey, his message is simple: “I would say, do what you want in life, but don’t forget your culture. It’s where you came from and it will always be part of who you are.”

To see examples of Peter’s art, visit www.bitsofalaska.com