Drum depicting Thunderbird by David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian
Drum depicting Thunderbird, 2017, David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian, hide, wood, pigment, 16" diameter x 3" deep
Thunderbird reside on the top of a mountain, and is the servant of the great spirit. His name comes from the belief that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder, stirs the wind, and controls the rain. IN this drum design, Thunderbird carries in his great talons individual lightning bolts made by glowing mythical serpents.
David A. Boxley is Eagle Clan of the Alaskan Tsimshian from Metlakatla, Alaska. David was raised by his grandparents, and from them he learned many Tsimshian traditions including the language. Since 1986, Boxley has dedicate his life to the revival and rebirth of Tsimshian art, culture and tradition. Boxley’s own carving style reflects ancient Tsimshian art. He has carved 73 Totem Poles, of which the 70th totem is permanently housed in the foyer of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Considered an important keeper of tradition, David has been deeply involved in the rebirth of Tsimshian culture through organizing and hosting Potlatches in Alaska and Washington, and reintroducing the potlatch back to his home village of Metlakatla, Alaska. These Potlatches involved traditional cultural activities such as clan adoption, name giving, gift giving, ceremonial regalia dedication, and memorials as well as song and dance.
As well, David contributed to the formation of four successful dance groups: one in his home village of Metlakatla, Alaska, and others in Seattle, Washington. He led the Tsimshian Haayuuk for 6 years, and now has a new group called the Git-Hoan (People of the Salmon). David has written over 40 songs in his Native language, and created many masks, rattles, drums, paddles and other performance items.