NOTE: The text and images found here, with permission, are originally from the Jim Poitras: First Nation Artist web site. Text is copyright Jim Poitras, images copyright Rudiger Schulze.
In the past many FIRST NATION children were taken from their families. Either put in the residential school system or the foster care system. This is what happen to me and my siblings. It happened to many families over many years. As a child I was one of a few FIRST NATION children in my region where I was raised. It was a hard childhood, with a lot of abuse, such as physical, mental and sexual abuse.
I became a drug addict and abuser of alcohol and was very angry and confused most of my life. This is not to feel sorry about myself, it is my reality. As a painter, I started my art career only in 1992 in British Columbia, Canada. Over the years I have painted and talked about the history of our people and Canada as a whole.
My country and people have honoured me many times even though I did not do this for this reason. My greatest compliments as an artist comes from my elders, they have said, the ancestors speak through my art! When I paint, I listen to First Nation music, from this comes my painting. I am very proud to come from Canada, dispite our history, because of the great changes now taking place there. Healing a people and a nation. With this positive outlook I co-wrote and co-produced a play on my life. In Canada, it was called "TRANSFORMATION" and in Europe it was called "TEAR OF THE EAGLE". We travelled all over Germany and Vienna, Austria. It was overwhelming received and for me it was an honour and have great respect for the German people. For they have treated me with great respect, kindness, generousity. I've had the privilege to travel to other countries and learn much about many European cultures and more about my ownself awareness.
I was born in 1952 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. As I said when I turned forty in 1992, I started to paint again, it was over twenty years since I did my art work. But I realized what a great gift that had come back into my life. My art has given me, so much, art in museums, galleries, dancing, healing, finding my natural family... so much. During the last few years, I've come to realize that children are my foundation of my work and that my message to children all around the world is "Believe in your Dreams". For I am living my dreams I had as a child and feel and know how rich I really am, my great joy is seeing the gleam and happiness in a child's eyes. Money can't buy that! My art is good to meand I look forward to the future. For I am a grandfather, "Culturally, elders are very important to our people but our children are our future" says Jim.
Links: (click on X in top right corner of outside link to return to photo gallery)
Jim Poitras: First Nation Artist - The artist's owns site.
Entered: March 21, 2003