The Grand Council of the Crees

Ceremony Celebrating the Minting of the Tim Whiskeychan Five-Dollar Coin

Comments by Brian Craik, Grand Council of the Crees

Posted: 2014-11-26

5 dollar Canadian Coin Featuring the work of Artist Timothy  Whiskeychan

Timothy Whiskeychan comes from a long line of artists from Waskaganish and from an even longer line of artists from all of the Cree communities.  Among them, John Blueboy the creator of the artisanal tamarack goose. 

There is no teacher better than life on the land.  Tim’s works reveal a feeling for this way of life. 

Cree hunting is a ritual, a part of the culture and when it is done correctly the hunter would be able to take home food for his family. A hunter was however often someone who did not bring home the game and it was in this circumstance that the family also played its part in the dance. The most difficult times were when the hunter’s backpack was empty.  It is the reason that the hunter did not come home and announce his success, but rather dropped his pack in the corner leaving the success or failure to be discovered by his wife at a more discrete time.

It is not that hunters go onto the land and sure that they will succeed, rather it is a dance with nature and with the spirits and when the music is good the animals replenish and life  continues. 

Tim’s work reflects a reverence for the uncertainty that is part of this way of life.  The hunter’s bow of long ago is raised with the hope that years of practice will bring the right result.

The whole of Cree society today exists because of Cree mastery of their way of life passed down from generation to generation and it is now, thanks to Timothy, reflected in this magnificent $5 silver coin.

Congratulations to Timothy Whiskeychan and to the Royal Canadian Mint for bringing this work of art to the world’s attention.