Welcome to the Web Site of
Northwest Coast First Nation's Tsimshian Artist
Leanne L. Helin
Nanoose Bay, B.C., Canada
LEANNE was born in 1964 in the North Coast City of Prince Rupert,
British Columbia, Canada. Her ancestry is rich and unique as
she comes from a long line of distinguished native ancestry.
Daughter of Carole and Arthur Helin. Arthur (d. 2001) Chief
Hy'emass of the Gitgeese tribal nation and her mother, Carole is
of Norwegian ancestry. Grandfather Henry W. Helin was Chief of the
Gitlan tribe and Grandmother Maud M. Helin was Chieftainess of the
Gitgeese tribe. Leanne is a First Nations native of the Tsimshian
Tribe of Lax Kw'alaams, North Coast BC, Canada.
In 1988, Leanne apprenticed with her brother Bill Helin, world-renowned
Native Tsimshian artist, learning engraving techniques in Tsimshian
Native designs. In 1989, she attended the renowned Gemological
Institute of America studying jewellery repair.
Since 1991 Leanne has worked independently designing, producing
and promoting her own line of jewelry out of her studio on Vancouver
Island, BC. She creates original jewellery depicting the legends
and crest of her Tsimshian Native heritage. Designs are hand-carved
in gold and sterling silver with great depth and detail to provide
generations of wear and enjoyment. Leanne also Works in copper
and a small line of cast reproductions are also available.
Leanne has become one of the foremost native women jewellery-Artists
of the Northwest coast. Commissioned orders are welcome. Please
shop on-line or call set to up an appointment to meet with Leanne
in her studio in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada.
For many indigenous groups, handcrafted Gold and Sterling silver
jewellery has been an art form passed from generation to generation.
Beautiful well crafted jewellery is an important symbol in celebrating
life's rites of passage; a precious, and lasting possession that
can be handed down to future generations to maintain the special
memories that we all cherish. My intention is to create jewellery
that is expertly crafted, and empowers the wearer with a strong sense
of self; it is my pleasure to create beautiful designs that will
become a part of people's lives.
Although the price of traditional artisan hand engraved jewellery
will seem to be more expensive than jewellery created by a reproduced
mold, the knowledge that someone spent time and patience over your
piece is well worth it. All jewellery is hand drawn originals, depicting
the symbol of your choice. Leanne chooses thicker metals to carve
which gives greater depth to her design. 10% extra cost may
apply on custom orders.
Each piece of jewellery is cut, designed, carved and hand polished,
shaped and finished by Leanne in her studio on Vancouver Island,
British Columbia, Canada call 250-468-9299.
The Tsimshian (usually pronounced in English SIM-shee-an), translated
as "People Inside the Skeena River," are a Native American
and First Nation people who live around Terrace and Prince Rupert,
on the north coast of British Columbia and the southernmost corner
of Alaska on Annette Island. Currently there are about 10,000 Tsimshians,
of which about 1,300 live in Alaska.
Canadian Tsimshian live along the Skeena and Nass rivers, as well
as the many inlets and islands on the coast. The Tsimshian obtained
food through fishing (halibut and salmon) and hunting (seals, sea
lions and sea otters).
The Tsimshian nation consists of fourteen bands: the Kitasoo (who
live at Klemtu, B.C.), the Gitga'ata (Hartley Bay, B.C.), the Kitkatla
(Kitkatla, B.C.), the Kitsumkalum (Kitsumkalum, B.C.), the Kitselas
or Gits'ilaasü (Kitselas, B.C.), and nine tribes resident at
Lax Kw'alaams (a.k.a. Port Simpson), B.C.: Giluts'aaw, Ginadoiks,
Ginaxangiik, Gispaxlo'ots, Gitando, Gitlaan, Gits'iis, Gitwilgyoots,
Like all North Coast peoples, the Tsimshian were fearsome warriors
with a deeply hierarchical society. Succession was matrilineal, and
one's place in society was determined by one's clan or phratry (known
as pteex). The Tsimshian clans are the Laxsgiik (Eagle Clan), Gispwudwada
(Killerwhale Clan), Ganhada (Raven Clan) and Laxgibuu (Wolf Clan).
Marriage in Tsimshian society must take place between members of
different clans. The lord of a village was the head of the strongest
clan, with the less powerful clan heads forming his council of the
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