Out of Concealment

Out of Concealment

Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii

ISBN 9781772031607
Softcover | Publication Date: August 13, 2017
Book Dimensions: 8.5 in x 10 in
160 Pages

About the Book

A stunning collection of powerful and whimsical photo collages celebrating supernatural female beings rooted in Haida culture.

Out of Concealment presents the oral narratives of the Haida Nation through the vibrant depiction of its female supernatural beings. Passed on from generation to generation through oral tradition, these stories are important historical narratives that illustrate the Haida’s values, customs, laws, and relationships with the earthly and metaphysical realms.

This book features over thirty full-colour surreal photo montages by Haida artist, performer, and activist Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson. The montages also integrate traditional Haida form-line art by Robert Davidson. Each image is accompanied by insightful, reflective text describing the being’s place in Haida cosmology. Out of Concealment encourages readers&mdashboth within the Haida Nation and the general public&mdashto see the feminine and the powerful land and seascapes of Haida Gwaii through a worldview where the environment is worthy of respect, not to be dominated or exploited. The book is being released to coincide with an exhibition of Williams-Davidson’s work at the Haida Gwaii Museum in 2017.

About the Author(s)

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson is a multi-award-winning Haida musician, an artist, and a lawyer, well known for her work in Indigenous-environmental law and as a keeper of traditions. She is the author of Out of Concealment: Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii, and co-author of Magical Beings of Haida Gwaii and Magical Beings of Haida Gwaii Colouring and Activity Book. Born and raised in Haida Gwaii, Terri-Lynn has dedicated herself to the continuation of Haida culture. On the front lines of Indigenous Rights, she strives to open new vistas to her audiences rooted in Indigenous world views, Haida language and laws, music, and oral traditions, and branches out to explore their relevance to contemporary society.


"In this brave and original book, Terri-Lynn imagines and gives form to the invisible dimensions of the Haida world―the female Supernatural Beings of the Sky Realm, of the Land and Sea. As a performing artist . . . she takes on the persona of each spiritual entity, imagining and crafting their adornments, clothing and hair, magical wings and feathers, the eyes of the divine. Each new role implies an act of transformation, which she embraces and celebrates as an essential force in Haida life. . . She deliberately uses her own body and being as a vehicle of expression, not as an act of vanity but rather as homage to the primordial forces that she honors with every portrait." —Wade Davis, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow
"Out of Concealment is more than a collection of dramatic photographs. It is a detailed telling of living oral narratives, passed on from one generation to another, that still connect multiple generations of people with the Supernatural Beings who helped shaped Haida existence. The book concerns the continuity of Haida understandings of the relationships between people, the environment, and the supernatural. It is also about change, since each Supernatural Being chosen by Williams-Davidson offers a message relevant to contemporary issues." —Gillian Crowther, The Ormsby Review
"A critical, original and wondrous iteration of ancient histories and wisdoms." —Nika Collison, curator, Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay
"In her own life, this amazing Haida woman has transformed herself through many careers, from a computer scientist to the lawyer for the Haida Nation, to a beautiful dancer and singer of Haida songs, and altogether a great Haida Raven woman of Skedans. Terri-Lynn wants our children to become familiar with the Supernaturals like Nil Jaad, Killer Whale Woman, so that they become part of their learning and part of our natural ways again, as it was with our grandparents. —GwaaGanad Diane Brown
"This book is a mind-blowing masterpiece. Like all great art, it pierces the heart and electrifies the mind. Beauty and brilliance burst from the pages like a killer whale breaching from the sea." —David R. Boyd, environmental lawyer, professor, and author
"In this book Terri-Lynn has given us a great gift. It is a work of exquisite power and beauty. As you follows its details, it will change how you see life itself." —John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, UVic Victoria
"SGaanaa qedas, Supernatural Beings, have been illustrated for millennia in art such as totem poles, paintings on bent-wood boxes, carved spoons, and button blankets. Terri-Lynn’s interpretations of the Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii give us a fresh personal look, in their natural settings. It’s exciting how she has brought them out of the treasure box to the forefront, broadening our awareness that they are truly still alive." —Robert Davidson Guud San Glans, CM, OBC
"In this learned, sensual, moving celebration of the female supernatural beings who animate the waters, land, and skies of Haida Gwaii, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson prepares a roadmap for the future . . . . Out of Concealment; is a book of wondrous transformations and a call for justice." —Colin Browne, author, Entering Time: The Fungus Man Platters of Charles Edenshaw
“Like her great-grandmother, who gave her the Haida name Lalaxaaygans, or “beautiful sound,” Williams-Davidson has done much to keep Haida culture alive. Her latest work, Out of Concealment: Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii, is also rooted in the deep past. But it feels strikingly new.” —Andrew Hudson, Haida Gwaii Observer
“As Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson transforms images of herself into powerful Beings such as SGuuluu Jaad (Foam Woman) and Xuuajii Jaad (Grizzly Bear Woman), she brings historical Haida narratives to life. More than 30 vivid photographs allow readers into the world of these Supernatural Beings, and Williams-Davidson’s accompanying narratives enhance the experience. As with many oral traditions, these narratives date back over many generations. They depict values, customs, rituals, laws, and relationships with the earthly and metaphysical realms, and reiterate an Indigenous worldview. "—Canadian Indigenous Books for Schools

“Williams-Davidson does a great job of not only contextualizing the supernatural narrative but also applying it to current events that the Haida nation continues to experience."> —Canadian Journal of Native Studies