Derek White Biography & Art

I was born August 27th 1965 in Queen Charlotte City Haida Gwaii. I am a Haida from Old Massett and have lived on Haida Gwaii all my life and still reside in Old Massett. My father, Morris White, was Chief of the Edinsu(Edenshaw)Eagle Clan of Kiusta until he passed away in 1997. His father, Geoffrey White, was the grandson of the great carver, Charles Edenshaw. My father gave up fishing when I was a little boy, and began carving silver, argillite, gold and wood. I witnessed Robert Davidson’s first Pole raising in 1969, as we lived right next door. I did not begin carving until after I finshed High School. I started carving small things in 1985, part-time doing carpentry, and helping my father and brothers on a red cedar canoe and carving shed the rest of the time.

I witnessed every major Pole raising on Haida Gwaii in the last several years. I began apprenticing under Master carver Jim Hart around 1990-91 up until 2000, working on several major projects. I worked on several wood poles, including one we completed in San Francisco. I also worked extensively on his longhouse, the Frog Constellation,( a huge sculpture in red Cedar), and some smaller projects. In 1995, I worked with my brothers Chris White, Todd and brothers-in-laws , on the Chief Edenshaw House Frontal Pole which was carved and raised in 1995. This project was led by Chris White, Master carver. I worked for Jim Hart on the Edenshaw Memorial Pole, which was raised infront of this longhouse in August of 1999.

In th year 2000, I worked in Skidegate for Tim Boyko and Qay’linagaay Heritage Centre Society on a pole that was raised in June 2001. I spend most of my time now carving jewellery in silver and gold. I love to do my artwork and spend time with my four children and one grandchild. I have been helping my bother Christian construct a large traditional longhouse which is used for teaching and gallery space.In the sprng of 2010 I finished a small wood pole that welcomes people to Masset.