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DAVIDSON, Florence Edenshaw

Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, 1896
, 1993
Biography synopsis
Florence Edenshaw Davidson grew up in the Haida village of Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands. She is the daughter of Haida elders and artists Charles and Isabella Edenshaw, who gave her the First Nations name Jadalq'egenga (“Story Maid”). Davidson is known for her cedar and spruce-wood basketry and button-blankets, which she began to make as a child. At the age of 14, the artist was wed to Robert Davidson (1880-1969) in an arranged marriage that had been ordained by her family. After giving birth to 13 children (some sources say 19), Davidson put aside her artwork to focus on her family. In 1951, the artist lost her home and all her possessions in a fire. In 1952, she returned to creating traditional Haida button blankets and baskets. Davidson imparted her great knowledge of fabrics and wood to a younger generation of artists, inspiring them to pursue these Native American art forms. One of her former apprentices is contemporary Haida artist Dorothy Grant.
Media used
File & Archive locations
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Canadian Museum of Civilization Archives, QC
British Columbia Archives
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
University of Pennsylvania Library
Columbia University, NY - Butler Library

Writings about
"During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, A Haida Woman." Journal of the West 23.2 (Apr. 1984): 109.
"Humour and Love of a Haida Life." Vancouver Sun (5 Mar. 1983): C3.
Bataille, Gretchen. Native American Women : A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Routledge, 2001.
Black, Joan. "Making Clothes for her Sisters Was Beginning of Great Career (1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards)." Windspeaker 16.12 (Apr. 1999).
Blackman, Margaret B. During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, a Haida Woman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992.
Blackman, Margaret B. "Contemporary Northwest Coast Arts for Ceremonial Use." American Indian Art Magazine 10 (Summer 1985): 24-37.
Blackman, Margaret B. "Review of During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, A Haida Woman." Woman's Art Journal 6.1 (Spring/Summer 1985): 51.
Blackman, Margaret B. & Schneider, William S. Margaret Blackman Is Interviewed by William Schneider on August 12, 1983 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks, Alaska: 1983.
Cameron, June. 26 Feet to the Charlottes: Exploring the Land of the Haida. Surrey, British Columbia: Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd, 2009.
Culley, Margo. American Women's Autobiography: Feasts of Memory. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.
Harris, Christie. Raven's Cry. New York: Atheneum, 1966.
Jensen, Doreen and Sargent, Polly. "Florence Davidson." Robes of Power: Totem Poles on Cloth. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986.
Jonaitis, Aldona. Art of the Northwest Coast. Seattle: University of Washington, 2006.
Knight, Rolf. Indians at Work: An Informal History of Native Labour in British Columbia, 1848-1930. Mitchell and Franklin, 1984.
Lévi-Strauss, Claude. "Review." L'Homme 23.4 (Oct./Dec. 1983): 84.
Macnair, Peter L. and Hoover, Alan L. and Neary, Kevin. The Legacy: Continuing Traditions of Canadian Northwest Coast Indian Art. Victoria, British Columbia: The British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1980.
Marsh, James, ed. Canadian Encyclopedia Online. Historical Foundation, 2009
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Formerly Art Association of Montreal: Spring Exhibitions, 1880-1970. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
Rutherdale, Myra. Women and the White Man's God: Gender and Race in the Canadian Mission Field. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2002: 121.
Shenk, Dena & Groger, Lisa. "Florence Edenshaw Davidson - A Haida Woman." Aging Education in a Global Context 26.1 (2005): 17.
Sparrow, Kathy Bedard. "Correcting the Record: Haida Oral Tradition in Anthropological Narratives." Anthropologica 40.2 (1998): 215-222.
Stearns, Mary Lee. "Review of During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, A Haida Woman." Ethnohistory 32.2 (Spring 1985): 193-195.
Tippett, Maria. "During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, A Haida Woman." BC Studies 59 (Fall 1983): 67-69.
Trafzer, Clifford E. "Review of During My Time: Florence Edenshaw Davidson, A Haida Woman." American Indian Quarterly 8.2 (Spring 1984): 134.
Turner, Sarah E. " 'Spider Woman's Granddaughter': Autobiographical Writings by Native American Women." Melus 22.4 (Winter 1997): 109-132.
Wigod, Rebecca. "Author Told Story of Haida Nation." Vancouver Sun (8 Jan. 2002): B7.

Writings by
Davidson, Florence Edenshaw et al. Haida: Indian Music of the Pacific Northwest. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkway Records, 1999.
Turner, Nancy J. & Davidson, Florence Edenshaw et al. Plants of Haida Gwaii: Xaadaa Gwaay gud gina k'aws (Skidegate) - Xaadaa Gwaayee guu gin k'awa (Masset). Winlaw, British Columbia: Sono Nis Press, 2004.

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