P Jackson

Nathan P Jackson

He // Him // His

[ID: Nathan, a Tlingit man with tan skin and white hair, smiles warmly.]

Traditional Woodcarver and Sculptor
Ketchikan, AK
2021 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Rasmuson Foundation.

Nathan Paul Jackson was born into the Sockeye Clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe. Jackson was raised in Southeastern Alaska, spending most of his time in the Haines area. Much of his early education in his Tlingit heritage was conducted by his clan uncle and grandfather.

Upon completion of his military service in Germany in 1959, he returned to Alaska. After two years of carving and commercial fishing, he enrolled at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. There he specialized in fabric design, silk screen, and graphics.

In 1964, he returned to Haines, where he began working with Alaska Indian Arts and taught woodblock and silk-screen techniques for Manpower Development. He also participated as a member of the Chilkat Dancers. Since 1967, he has been a freelance artist doing traditional-style woodcarving, jewelry, and design, usually on a commission basis.

He has been an instructor in woodcarving and design at the Alaska State Museum, Sheldon Jackson College, Totem Heritage Center, and the University of Alaska. He has also had several apprentices working under him in conjunction with the Native Apprenticeship Program, sponsored by Alaska State Council on the Arts, as well as with a totem project in Saxman, a native village two miles south of Ketchikan.

At this point in his career, in addition to masks and smaller items, Jackson has carved more than 50 totem poles, some in international locations and museums, for both public art and private collections.

Portrait photo by Hall Anderson.

  • Artwork by Nathan P Jackson
    Kaats Pole, 2004. Western red cedar, latex exterior house paint, dimensions 20 × 2 feet. Photo by Cynthia Frankenburg.
    [ID: Nathan P Jackson stands below a towering totem pole on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. The totem features Kaats who is at the bottom being held by the mama bear, his wife. Going up the pole, the three bear cubs are shown.]
  • Artwork by Nathan P Jackson
    Raven Frontlet, 2020. Red alder, exterior house paint, flicker feathers, abalone inlay, dimensions 10 × 6 inches. Photo by Stacey Williams.
    [ID: A raven headdress frontlet traditionally put on the front of an ermine skin headdress. It represents a raven, one of the main moieties in Northwest coast culture. The raven’s head, claws, tails, and wings are compacted together in the center and surrounded by abalone inlay on either side, with orange and black-tipped flicker feathers attached to the top of the frontlet.]
  • Artwork by Nathan P Jackson
    Raven & Dog Salmon, 2019. Western red cedar, exterior latex house paint, dimensions 11 × 7 feet. Photo by Shar Fox.
    [ID: This house screen on display in the Alaska State Museum in Juneau features a raven and four dog salmon in the traditional Northwest coast design style. It is a symmetrical panel painted in the traditional colors of blue green, red, and black. The four dark bluish green dog salmon are positioned in the four corners and the raven is centered with outspread wings. Two dog salmon jumping at the top are quite happy.]
Artwork by Nathan P Jackson Artwork by Nathan P Jackson Artwork by Nathan P Jackson