Hilary Stewart (en anglais seulement)

Date award received: 
Hilary Stewart acknowledges the applause as she receives the Pendergast Award fr

This year the James and Margaret Pendergast Award went to Hilary Stewart, of Quadra Island, British Colombia. Hilary was nominated by the Vancouver Branch of the Archaeological Society of British Columbia in recognition of her many years as an advocate of archaeology and Native Culture of the Pacific Northwest.

The ASBC’s nomination reads:

The Archaeological Society of British Columbia (ASBC) would like to nominate Hilary Stewart for the Pendergast Award. Hilary Stewart is an award-winning author, illustrator and advocate of archaeology and Northwest Coast First Nations cultures. Her generosity of spirit, willingness to share knowledge and to train others makes her eminently qualified to be a recipient of the Pendergast award. She has spent her lifetime teaching, informing, supporting and collaborating with archaeologists.

It is difficult to know where to start in describing Hilary Stewart’s contributions to archaeology. She is a gifted artist, as the drawings in her numerous publications attest. She has taken this gift and used it to learn by looking. Through her detailed observations of artifacts and First Nations cultures she has demonstrated the complex nature of the tools as well as the techniques used in their manufacture. As part of the research she was an early advocate of experimental archaeology. She used wedges to split cedar planks and recreated tools of cedar, bark and stone to gain a better understanding of them. Her remarkable drawings and clear prose enable her to share this understanding with the public.

Her publications such as Indian Artifacts of the Northwest Coast (1973), Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast (1997), Indian Fishing: Early Methods on the Northwest Coast (1997), and Stone, Bone, Antler and Shell: Artifacts of the NW Coast (1996) have helped to disseminate knowledge about Northwest Coast cultures and archaeology to both professionals and the interested public. In addition, she has always been generous with these drawings, allowing others to use them in their own publications.

Hilary is one of the founding members of the Archaeological Society of British Columbia (ASBC) and is an enthusiastic supporter of archaeology in the province. From its beginnings in 1966 Hilary acted as the ASBC’s Membership and Publicity Chair for many years. In this role, she guided the Society’s growth from a handful of members to 200 members by the early 1970s. She was also instrumental to the success of the Society’s well-known journal, The Midden. From 1971 to 1982 she contributed 50 short notes and articles! Recently, she graciously agreed to lend her name to an award established by the ASBC to encourage conservation of archaeological heritage. The Hilary Stewart Art and Archaeology Competition is open to elementary and high school students across the province and is now in its second year. Hilary Stewart has devoted much of her life to furthering public understanding of First Nations’and archaeological aspects of British Columbia’s history. There is no question that the Archaeological Society of BC would not be where it is today without her help.

Hilary Stewart thoroughly enjoyed participating in excavations. She volunteered at numerous sites including: ‘Old Musqueam’ (DhRt3) in 1968 with Charles Borden, English Bluff (DgRs11) in the first ASBC excavation, Katz in 1972, Marpole in 1972, and Crescent Beach in 1977. At these digs she excavated and also trained students and site volunteers in photography and drawing.

Hilary Stewart has been involved with many aspects of education, especially Aboriginal education and education of the public. She supported the UBC Museum of Anthropology’s early work with Aboriginal youth. She assisted with the Musqueam Day School in 1978, which with Hilary’s help, led to the innovative Native Youth Programme started by Madeline Bronsdan Rowan, MOA’s first curator of Education. She gave freely of her time and helped to develop and present the core element of this program, which, at that time, was focused on the uses of cedar.

Images Stone B.C.: Thirty Centuries of Northwest Coast Indian Culture was a stunning, revolutionary exhibit and Wilson Duff’s publication, with the same title, is a must have for all Northwest Coast archaeologists. Hilary Stewart created all the photographs and drawings for this book and wrote the preface. What people may not know is that she also located all the pieces. She visited major institutions and private collections, creating a documentary database of these remarkable items that have become part of the diaspora of Northwest Coast material culture. Her work on this volume as with all her research is meticulous.

Later, she and Madeline Rowan curated an exhibit on the uses of cedar trees. This brought public attention to Culturally Modified Trees for the first time.

She has also been philanthropic in providing legacy funding for students through numerous generous donations. Two of these include the Moira Irvine Archaeology Research Fund at UBC, which provides assistance to undergraduate students working on archaeological research projects and a fund at MOA to support Aboriginal education programmes.

Hilary Stewart recently turned 80 and continues her research interests in ethnobotany publishing Drink in the Wild: Teas, Cordial, Jams and More in 2003. On Cortes Island in 2003, Ms. Stewart spoke on the traditional fishing methods of the Coast Salish people which she demonstrated with examples of fishing gear that she had created in the traditional ways. She also loaned her pieces for use in the salmon exhibit at the Cortes Island Museum.

Her contributions include books of interest to general audiences and professionals alike. Most of her books are now in their second editions and often serve as textbooks for high school, college and university courses. These books are listed below. Her short notes and articles are too numerous to include.

2003    Drink in the Wild: Teas, Cordials, Jams and More. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1998    On Island Time. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1998 Spirit in the Stone, Horsdal and Schubart. (illustrator)
1997    Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1997    Indian Fishing: Early Methods on the Northwest Coast. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1997 The Adventures and Sufferings of John R. Jewitt: Captive of Maquinna (John R. Jewitt and Hilary Stewart) Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1996    Stone, Bone, Antler and Shell: Artifacts of the Northwest Coast. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1993    Looking at Totem Poles. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver.
1990    Totem Poles. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver .
1981    Artifacts of the Northwest Coast. Ontario General Publishing Co. Ltd.
1981    Wild Teas, Coffee and Cordials. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver
1980 Gathering what the great Nature provided. Food traditions of the Gitksan Douglas and McIntyre (illustrator)
1979    Robert Davidson: Haida Print Maker. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver
1979    Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast. Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver
1978 'Ksan 1978 original graphics : first annual collection (Text by Bill Ellis; photography by Hilary Stewart).Children of the Raven Publisher, Vancouver
1977    Images Stone, B.C. (video recording) National Film Board of Canada. With contributions from George Clutesi, Wilson Duff and Hilary Stewart
1975 Images Stone B.C.: Thirty Centuries of Northwest Coast Indian Art, Hancock House Publishers, Vancouver. (illustrator and photographer)
1973 The Northwest Coast. Time-Life Books, New York
1973 Indian Artifacts of the Northwest Coast. University of Washington Press, Seattle

During the preparations for the ASBC’s 30th Anniversary Celebration in 1996, Hilary Stewart sent a letter to the ASBC, recalling its beginnings. From the start, she was one of the handful of active volunteers and was able to capture those early years in words and pictures. In her letter she wrote

It is extraordinary for me to look back and recall the Society’s early beginnings, and to look at photos of a handful of us (oh, so young looking!) working on salvage digs in sunshine and mud. [She goes on to list the digs.]

I well recall how involved I became in the Katz dig of ’71. Not content to work there only on weekends, with ASBC members, I got a leave of absence from my job - I was the Art Director for CHAN-TV, now BCTV - and spent several weeks as part of the crew of 14, volunteering my time. It was during that dig that I saw the need for a small booklet on artifact identification and technology, and set about writing and illustrating this.

As the booklet began to expand into a bigger book, my enthusiasm for it increased at the same rate that my interest in television decreased. Ten months into the book I gave up my TV career to stay home and concentrate on this work. After 2 years of research, writing and illustrating, which took me all up the BC coast and into many Canadian & U.S. museums, the book was published in Canada and co-published in the States. Entitled ARTIFACTS OF THE NORTHWEST COAST INDIANS, this large format, hardcover book had over 1,000 illustrations and diagrams, and many photographs, a lot of them mine. [She goes on to list 7 books that followed.]

In connection with these publications I did a lot of lecture/demonstrations for schools, colleges, universities, museums, art galleries and even prisons, plus a variety of field trips and educational organizations. Also I curated 3 exhibitions, on the subjects of my books, for the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Vancouver Museum, and wrote the labeling for a major, permanent exhibition on Northwest Coast cultures for the Field Museum in Chicago. In addition I did the research, photography and illustrations for the catalogue of the IMAGES:STONE:BC traveling exhibition, written by Wilson Duff.

Now, supposedly retired (ha!), I am busy living on Quadra Island. This year, having completely rewritten, re-designed and update that very first book on artifacts - now entitiled STONE, BONE, ANTLER & SHELL, and which includes a fond recollection of the Katz dig - I feel I have come full circle!

Looking back over those 24 years I realize that just about everything I have done with my life and career, since leaving television, has had its roots in the Archaeological Society of British Columbia and my affiliation with it. All my interests, my books, various commissions, projects and exhibitions and all the lecturing presentations have, in fact, been a direct or indirect result of my having joined the ASBC. in 1966.

During the 30th anniversary celebrations of the ASBC in 1996 Hilary Stewart was given an Honourary Life Membership in the Society. Since that time she has continued to volunteer her support to the ASBC and remains our shining example.

A copy of the nomination was provided in full to the Pendergast family and Denton Pendergast, Jim’s eldest son, attended the dinner in Nanaimo to make the presentation of the award to Hilary.