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Allan was born at the Queen Charlotte City hospital on Haida Gwaii in 1972 and raised in Old Masset; but currently resides in North Vancouver. Although he no longer lives on Haida Gwaii, he maintains a close connection and returns often.
He is a descendant of the St’langng Laanas Raven Clan from Kungaileng (west of Old Masset); his crests include the Thunderbird, Hawk, Cumulous Cloud, Killer Whale, and Grizzly Bear. Allan has two Haida names, Guskin was given to him after graduating from high school and Skil Hiilans was given to him at a Chieftainship potlatch that he hosted on behalf of his lineage in 2012.
Throughout his teenage years, Allan visited his older brother Alfred and watched him carve in argillite. He was always fascinated and passionate about Haida art, but chose to pursue an academic education in Anthropology and later worked as an archaeologist until 2010.
From a young age, Allan learned about his culture from his uncles, aunties and grandparents, while studying Anthropology he learned about Master Carvers Simeon Stilth’daa, John Robson, Nelson Cross and others.
His previous studies enhanced his fascination and passion for Haida art and, in 2010; he decided he wanted to learn the Haida art form. He began learning from renowned Haida artist Jay Simeon and has also received guidance from other renowned Haida carvers such as James McGuire, Ron Russ, Shawn Edenshaw, Andrew Williams and others.
“Thunderbird is the illustrious ancestor of many prominent human lineages and a proud, and powerf...
“Thunderbird is the illustrious ancestor of many prominent human lineages and a proud, and powerful noble being in myths throughout the Northwest Coast. Thunderbird is a giant supernatural bird named for his habit of carrying thunder and lighting. Beneath his wings he carries Lighting Snakes, which are his weapons. Thunder rolls from the flap of his wings, and lighting flashes when he blinks his great eyes or throws Lighting Snakes. He is large and strong enough to hunt Killer Whale[s], which...
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