Chief Henry Speck (Kwakwaka’wakw)

Bio

(b. 1908 – 1971, kwakwaka’wakw)

Chief U’dzistalis was born at Turnour Island August 12, 1908. He only went to school for 2 years, at the Alert Bay Residential School. At the age of 14, he was initiated as a Hamat’sa dancer the highest of Kwakwaka’wakw secret societies. His initiation took place at a potlatch given by his mother’s uncle, Chief Bob Harris. Since that event, speck became an acknowledged ceremonial song keeper and composer of Kwakwaka’wakw dances.

 

Later in his life he moved to Alert Bay and taught dancing every Monday night to the community in their efforts to revive their previously banned culture (see Potlatch ban). In 1925, Henry’s father gave an illegal Potlatch to assume the position of chief of the Lawit’sis, and Henry performed as Haamat’sa . When his father died, Henry was made Chief and named U’dzistalis (the greatest) at the potlatch he gave in memory of his father. He passed away in 1971.

 

Exhibitions

2024 – PAINTINGS FROM ALERT BAY 1959-61

2022 – SHORELINES

2020 – CHIEF HENRY SPECK | COLE SPECK

2016 – CEREMONIAL/ART PRESENTS CHIEF HENRY SPECK

2014 – CHIEF HENRY SPECK – U’DZISTALIS THE GREATEST

 

Available Work

Double Headed Serpent

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Killer Whale

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Rattle Beaver

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Rattle (Bear Design)

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Mouse Mask (The Messenger of Words)

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Thunderbird, Hummingbird, Bluejay

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Seagull Dance Mask

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Chilkat Blanket

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Whale

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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Hawk Crest Design

1961,

Gouache on Paper,

20" x 23"

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