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Leanne Helin - Tsimshian Native Jewellery Artist

Leanne Helin

Welcome to the Web Site of
Northwest Coast First Nation's Tsimshian Artist
Leanne L. Helin

Nanoose Bay, B.C., Canada


LEANNE was born in 1964 in the North Coast City of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. Her ancestry is rich and unique as she comes from a long line of distinguished native ancestry.

Daughter of Carole and Arthur Helin. Arthur (d. 2001) Chief Hy'emass of the Gitgeese tribal nation and her mother, Carole is of Norwegian ancestry. Grandfather Henry W. Helin was Chief of the Gitlan tribe and Grandmother Maud M. Helin was Chieftainess of the Gitgeese tribe. Leanne is a First Nations native of the Tsimshian Tribe of Lax Kw'alaams, North Coast BC, Canada.

In 1988, Leanne apprenticed with her brother Bill Helin, world-renowned Native Tsimshian artist, learning engraving techniques in Tsimshian Native designs. In 1989, she attended the renowned Gemological Institute of America studying jewellery repair.

Since 1991 Leanne has worked independently designing, producing and promoting her own line of jewelry out of her studio on Vancouver Island, BC. She creates original jewellery depicting the legends and crest of her Tsimshian Native heritage. Designs are hand-carved in gold and sterling silver with great depth and detail to provide generations of wear and enjoyment. Leanne also Works in copper and a small line of cast reproductions are also available.

Leanne has become one of the foremost native women jewellery-Artists of the Northwest coast. Commissioned orders are welcome. Please shop on-line or call set to up an appointment to meet with Leanne in her studio in Nanoose Bay, British Columbia, Canada.

For many indigenous groups, handcrafted Gold and Sterling silver jewellery has been an art form passed from generation to generation. Beautiful well crafted jewellery is an important symbol in celebrating life's rites of passage; a precious, and lasting possession that can be handed down to future generations to maintain the special memories that we all cherish. My intention is to create jewellery that is expertly crafted, and empowers the wearer with a strong sense of self; it is my pleasure to create beautiful designs that will become a part of people's lives.

Although the price of traditional artisan hand engraved jewellery will seem to be more expensive than jewellery created by a reproduced mold, the knowledge that someone spent time and patience over your piece is well worth it. All jewellery is hand drawn originals, depicting the symbol of your choice. Leanne chooses thicker metals to carve which gives greater depth to her design. 10% extra cost may apply on custom orders.

Each piece of jewellery is cut, designed, carved and hand polished, shaped and finished by Leanne in her studio on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada call 250-468-9299.

The Tsimshian (usually pronounced in English SIM-shee-an), translated as "People Inside the Skeena River," are a Native American and First Nation people who live around Terrace and Prince Rupert, on the north coast of British Columbia and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. Currently there are about 10,000 Tsimshians, of which about 1,300 live in Alaska.
Canadian Tsimshian live along the Skeena and Nass rivers, as well as the many inlets and islands on the coast. The Tsimshian obtained food through fishing (halibut and salmon) and hunting (seals, sea lions and sea otters).

The Tsimshian nation consists of fourteen bands: the Kitasoo (who live at Klemtu, B.C.), the Gitga'ata (Hartley Bay, B.C.), the Kitkatla (Kitkatla, B.C.), the Kitsumkalum (Kitsumkalum, B.C.), the Kitselas or Gits'ilaasü (Kitselas, B.C.), and nine tribes resident at Lax Kw'alaams (a.k.a. Port Simpson), B.C.: Giluts'aaw, Ginadoiks, Ginaxangiik, Gispaxlo'ots, Gitando, Gitlaan, Gits'iis, Gitwilgyoots, and Gitzaxlaal.

Like all North Coast peoples, the Tsimshian were fearsome warriors with a deeply hierarchical society. Succession was matrilineal, and one's place in society was determined by one's clan or phratry (known as pteex). The Tsimshian clans are the Laxsgiik (Eagle Clan), Gispwudwada (Killerwhale Clan), Ganhada (Raven Clan) and Laxgibuu (Wolf Clan). Marriage in Tsimshian society must take place between members of different clans. The lord of a village was the head of the strongest clan, with the less powerful clan heads forming his council of the nobility.

We now accept INTERACT, VISA & MASTERCARD. Phone us for details. 250-468-9299


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