Who was Bill Reid?

Perspectives on Bill Reid

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Marjorie Halpin
"He’s never been too sure who he is"

Sure, he will always be celebrated for having been the first modern master and I think that the story of Bill Reid will change, as all stories do over time. He was recently in the Museum of Anthropology and he was recognized by schoolchildren as a hero and that’s there. But it’s like he’s an immigrant from an old country and people that live there know that they’re Haida. One of the things that these people all over the coast – it’s a phrase they all use when talking about identity and culture – they all talk about ‘knowing who you are’. I think they know who they are and that they are Haida. And I think we can see in Bill’s pronouncements over the years that he’s never been too sure who he is.

Marjorie Halpin (1937-2000), anthropologist and author. From “The Private Bill Reid,” CBC Radio, The Arts Tonight, March 1, 1994. Reporter: Susan Feldman. Courtesy Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Archives. Photo: UBC Historical Archives.