Tony Hunt Sr.

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Chief Tony Hunt Sr.
Bonn Rheinaue heraldic stake.jpg
Red cedar totem pole (1979)
by Chief Tony Hunt Sr. in Bonn, Germany
Born(1942-08-24)24 August 1942
Died15 December 2017(2017-12-15) (aged 75)
Nationality Kwakwaka'wakw (Canadian)
Awards Order of British Columbia (2010) [1]
Thunderbird House Totem Pole, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Thunderbird House Totem Pole Stanley Park.jpg
Thunderbird House Totem Pole, Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Tony Hunt Sr. OBC (1942 – 2017, Kwakwaka'wakw) was a Canadian First Nations artist noted for his KwaGulth style paintings and totem poles, which he carved from single cedar logs.


Early life

Tony Hunt was born in 1942 at the Kwakwaka'wakw community of Alert Bay, British Columbia, and was the oldest of six sons of Henry Hunt and Helen Hunt. The youth received early training from his maternal grandfather Mungo Martin. Through his maternal line, Hunt was a hereditary chief of the Kwakwaka'wakw.

His father was a professional woodcarver. Hunt and his brothers are also descendants of the renowned ethnologist George Hunt (Tlingit), who collected hundreds of Kwakwaka'wakw artworks for an exhibition at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


After his grandfather Martin's death in 1962, Hunt became assistant carver to his father Henry Hunt at Thunderbird Park in Victoria, B.C. His younger brothers, Richard Hunt and Stanley C. Hunt, also became professional carvers. In 1970 Hunt opened the Arts of the Raven Gallery in Victoria.

In 1984 Kraft Foods, Inc. commissioned Tony Hunt to carve a replacement totem pole, Kwanusila (Thunderbird), for a Kwakwaka'wakw pole donated by James L. Kraft, industrialist, to the city of Chicago in 1929. [2] It was installed at the waterfront of Lake Michigan. After decades in the public park, the pole had suffered weather deterioration and vandalism. With new appreciation for its historic and cultural value, the original pole was sent to the museum in British Columbia for preservation and study. Kwanusila is installed at the lakeside park. [2]


Chief Tony Hunt died in Campbell River on December 15, 2017. [3]


Hunt was awarded the Order of British Columbia in 2010.


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  1. "2010 Recipient: Chief Tony Hunt (Nakapnkim) – Victoria". Order of British Columbia. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. 1 2 Alice Maggio, "Lakefront Totem Pole Contains Many Tales", Gapers Block, 29 July 2006, accessed 19 May 2015
  3. Petrescu, Sarah (16 Dec 2017). "Obituary: Tony Hunt Sr., famed artist and cultural force". Times-Colonist. Retrieved 16 December 2017.