Vickers, Budd launch book at Munro’s June 8

Peace Dancer is the fourth and final instalment of the award-winning and bestselling Northwest Coast Legends series

Robert (Lucky) Budd and artist Roy Henry Vickers launch their new book

Robert (Lucky) Budd and artist Roy Henry Vickers launch their new book

The “whirlwind” of four books in as many years flew by for co-authors Robert (Lucky) Budd, a local oral historian and renowned B.C. artist Roy Henry Vickers.

“It’s more unbelievable that we’ve done what we’ve done in four years,” Vickers said. “It just seemed like last year we started this.”

Peace Dancer, released this month, is the fourth and final instalment of the award-winning and bestselling Northwest Coast Legends series that includes Raven Brings the Light (2013), Cloudwalker (2014) and Orca Chief (2015).

Featuring 18 new artworks by Vickers, Peace Dancer offers a beautiful fable on the value of peaceful action in the face of adversity. Continuing on the series’ theme, it demonstrates the power coastal legends have to enact positive change and move readers no matter their cultural heritage.

A significant part of the joy in offering these books for Vickers, started as he walked the halls of Oak Bay High as a teen.

“I can’t believe it’s over 50 years that I stepped through the doors of Oak Bay senior high school and graduated,” said Vickers who celebrated his 70th birthday June 4. “When I was at Oak Bay High School I came across discrimination at the age of 17 for the first time in my life. I did not know what it was. So I set about to find out what it was.”

Vickers, now a renowned carver, painter and printmaker, learned his father’s family was Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk while his mother’s parents were English immigrants. He found nothing in the library those days about the Tsimshan or Haida. Now his books share traditional tales in public and home libraries around the globe.

“The stories are ancient legends, they’ve been told since the time of the flood. They’ve been told to teach people how we should living in this world. How to make our world a better place,” Vickers said.

In Peace Dancer, the children of the Tsimshian village of Kitkatla love to play at being hunters, eager for their turn to join the grownups.

But when they capture and mistreat a crow, the Chief of the Heavens, angered at their disrespect, brings down a powerful storm. The rain floods the Earth and villagers have no choice but to abandon their homes and flee to their canoes. As the seas rise, the villagers tie themselves to the top of Anchor Mountain, where they pray for days on end and promise to teach their children to value all life. The storm stops and the waters recede.

From that point on, the villagers appoint a chief to perform the Peace Dance at every potlatch and, with it, pass on the story of the flood and the importance of respect.

“This book is really about adults more than anything else,” Budd says. “That’s really the one message that’s flat out in your face. We have not taught our children to love and respect, we’ve forgotten to do that.”

“The lesson in this one is we should clean up our act, clean up Mother Earth or we can suffer what this story is about – the flood,” Vickers says.

“It’s a message to people that the world is about how we live in the world.”

Packaged as children’s books, the only lament Vickers has is that exact perception – that they’re pertinent only for children. They all feature critical lessons for “children of all ages,” he said. “I’ve heard these stories since I was a little boy and they were never in any books. They were all part of somebody’s storytelling to me. Seeing them in books is exciting to me.”

The book format is a means of presenting the traditional oral tales to a broader audience, Budd said.

“With every single one of these books you can go (online and) listen to the original telling of the story. These are oral stories, they’re still going to be told for hundreds of thousands of years,” he said. “As Roy likes to point out, these are stories for children ages one to 100.”

The first stop for Vickers and Budd on their West Coast book tour is Victoria with a family-friendly event at Munro’s Books tonight (Wednesday, June 8), from 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy captivating live storytelling from the duo, birthday cake and information about ancient legends.

Just don’t expect them to read the book.

“We’ve never yet read the book at one of these events,” Budd said.  “We’ve told 500 to 600 stories and didn’t open a book once.”

“It takes me all the way back to four years ago when we did the launch of the book in Vancouver,” Vickers recalled.

He was supposed to read, he and Budd perched on stools in front of a crowd. The storyteller got only as far as the second page then told the audience “the book is for you to read, let me just tell you the story,” he says. “We’ve never opened a page since.”

Peace Dancer is also available in Oak Bay at Ivy’s Bookshop.


Just Posted

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read