Lelooska, Don (Don Smith) – Native American Carver

Don Lelooska (Don Smith, Native American, 1933 to 1996)

Don Lelooska or Smith was the first born of Mary Smith (Cherokee, Shona Hah). Adopted by the Kwakiutl Sewide Clan, Lelooska, whose name means he who cuts against wood, was taught the craft of carving by his grandfather, He-Killer. During the 1950s, Lelooska carved for the tourist trade helping in the revitalization of Northwest Coast art. From the 1970s until the early 1990s he educated the young about his great Indian heritage, founding the Lelooska Foundation and developing the “Living History Program,” with the help of Chief James Aul Sewide and tribal elders.

Information courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions September 2004

Lelooska, aka Don Smith, was well-known in the Pacific Northwest. He was of mixed-blood Cherokee heritage and adopted as an adult by the prestigious Kwakiutl Sewid clan. He emerged in the late 1950s as one of a handful of artists who proved critical in the renaissance of Northwest Coast Indian art.

Information courtesy of Heritage Galleries October 2006

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