Clifton Fred, Tlingit Nation. Clifton was born in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory as a Crow from the great Tlingit Tribe. He began drawing in grade one and taught himself to express his feeling and experiences about his people in a medium of drawing and poetry. He learned to write and draw at the same time, and cannot feel one without the other. He has not pursued any secondary training in art and knows very little of art history other than that the Tlingit have always honored the other lives which have sustained their existence. Their visual designs are the unforgotten language, the contemporary cave drawing, the petrified footprint, that tells of an experience. His personal beliefs and the practice of Native Spirituality leads him to perceive animals as greater being than him, and that his existence is dependent upon their presence and not theirs upon him. He hopes that others with compassion and concern will share his attitude towards life, in all forms.
As a Crow of the Tlingit tribe, Clifton Fred’s artistic sensibility reflects the views and achievements of his cultural ancestry. As he puts it “through our art I hope we can remind each other of who we were, what we did, and how we felt. If understanding our beginnings enable us to know our ends, then we may find that all cultures have the same origins and therefore the same destiny. Knowing this we can do nothing other than work together.”