Norman Tait

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Norman Tait (born 1941) is a Canadian First Nations artist and totem pole carver from the Nisga'a nation of northwestern British Columbia.

He was born in Kincolith (Gingolx) on the Nass River in B.C., the son of Josiah Tait, also a carver and the great-grandson of Chief Alfred Watson Mountain, Sganism Sim'oogit.

He is a member of the House of Luuya'as of the Laxsgiik (Eagle clan) and holds or has held the hereditary titles Na'ax-lax, Gawaakhl, and Naawootkw Lik'inskw lax galts'ap, the last meaning "Grizzly Bear Coming onto the Village."

He began carving in 1970, and sought out Nisga'a artifacts that he could study as there were no living Nisga'a master carvers for him to study. He later studyied under the tutelage of the Haida carvers Freda Diesing and Gerry Marks.

He has carved poles standing in various British Columbian locales such as Port Edward, Lax Kw'alaams, Alert Bay and Vancouver, and, in 1983, at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Osaka, Japan, and Germany, as well as many private collections. In 1992, Tait raised a totem in the Royal families Bushy Park in London England. Tait also raised a totem pole to commemorate the opening of the Nisga'a Lisims Government building in New Aiyansh, B.C., "Goothl Lisims", which translates as "the heart of the Nass".

Tait was the first carver to host a one-man show during a time when exhibitions were traditionally show casing several artists at a time. He put together 125 pieces for this exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology in 1977.

Tait is known for the realistic detailing of his sculptured carving, moon masks, two dimensional design doors, and jewellery.

Tait currently works with his carving partner, Lucinda Turner. He began teaching Turner in 1991 and they have subsequently completed many carvings, including two major commissions for the Vancouver Stock Exchange. They also opened the working art gallery Wilp's Tsaak Gallery - House of the Mischievous Man in West Vancouver.


  • Jensen, Doreen, and Polly Sargent (1986) Robes of Power: Totem Poles on Cloth. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
  • Macnair, Peter L., Alan L. Hoover, and Kevin Neary (1984) The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art. Vancouver, B.C.: Douglas & McIntyre.