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A Tale of Two Shamans: A Haida Manga

A Tale of Two Shamans: A Haida Manga

by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas


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“This Haida manga intriguingly blends graphic storytelling with a fine art sensibility… Yahgulanaas communicates via an arresting series of images evoking the traditional visual arts of the Haida people.” —Publisher’s Weekly

The brilliant follow-up to War of Blink and RED: A Haida Manga — another stunningly inventive retelling of an ancient Haida tale.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780995994683
Publisher: Locarno Press
Publication date: 05/31/2019
Series: A Haida Manga Series
Pages: 72
Sales rank: 1,171,651
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is the creator of Haida Manga, a distinctive fusion of pop graphics, Haida art and Japanese comic styles. His books include A Tale of Two Shamans; Flight of the Hummingbird, with an afterword by the Dalai Lama;Hachidori, a bestseller in Japan; and RED: A Haida Manga nominated for a BC Book Award, a Doug Wright Award for Best Book, and a 2010 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Cartoonist. RED was an Top 100 book of 2009.

Yahgulanaas is also a sculptor and graphic artist whose work is in the collections of the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver International Airport, City of Vancouver, City of Kamloops and University of British Columbia. He pulls from his 20 years of political experience in the Council of the Haida Nation and travels the world speaking to businesses, institutions and communities about social justice, community building, communication and change management. For more, see

Yahgulanaas lives on an island in the Salish Sea, with his wife and daughter.


Notes on a Tale of Two Shamans — ga Sraagaa sdang

The work that you are about to read is old, much older than any of us still living. It is probably older than anything one could even call Canadian. It precedes us all. Obviously I am not the primary creator of such a narrative, but as a Haida citizen, it is an ancestral experience. The strength of owning a thing is often expressed as a right to share it. In this retelling we the illustrators, editors, linguists, curators and indeed the community of living Haidas and friend invite you to join with us. Come as a respected guest. Sit at the table and be nourished by our living culture.

This story is a blend of accounts recorded at the turn of the nineteenth century in three of the once numerous dialects of the Haida language. I have combined elements from these accounts into a newly constructed whole. Be cautioned that these images are interpretations informed by my own cultural composition and life experiences. This is a contemporary rendering of a worldview first expressed in different times and probably for different reasons. I am not stepping forward to join that dais filled with authorities claiming to represent those distant times. I am a Haida whose life experiences are probably very similar to [that of] your own. In many respects that greater distance between the first tellers of ga Sraagaa sdang and ourselves, makes us both readers.

The first part of my telling of ga Sraagaa sdang comes from Sk’a.aaws. This is an ancient town site located along the eastern border of a forested region called Duu Guusd. Duu Guusd is part of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago still held until recently in its colonial embrace as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The other old source of telling is Skedans. This old town is located in the Gwaii Haanas Haida Heritage Site, an area also currently reserved as a Canadian National Park.

I have restrained from writing an extensive opinion, instead limiting my retelling to a brief text and illustrations. This should suffice to give the engaged reader a hint of the mazing concepts which ripple through this shamanic tale and remain a substantial element of that dynamic living society of indigenous peoples called Haida.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

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