Tsungani, Fearon Smith Jr. or “Smitty” is the younger brother of Lelooska and Patty Fawn. Tsungani, meaning “he who excels” was given a very important Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) name, Qa7axtal’es, in 1968. Qa7axatal’es implying “young herald” is translated as “He who arises early and invites the people into the house to eat”. When Lelooska passed away in 1996, Tsungani became clan chief of the Wiummasgum Clan of the House of Lelooska and the House of Sewide. The name Gixken meaning “Chief of Chiefs” was also passed to him.
Growing up in a family already deeply involved in Indian arts, it was natural for him to fall in step with the rest of the family and become an artist. He is a skilled artist in all mediums of Northwest Coast Indian art but devotes most of his time to woodcarving. He is best known for his ceremonial masks, rattles, bentwood boxes and chests done in both traditional and contemporary styles. He particularly enjoys the creation of shaman figures and masks based on historical pieces.
In addition, he is deeply interested in Indian history and the history of the fur trade and has done extensive research in both fields.
Tsungani was one of the main dancers in the family’s educational programs, an expert at handling the large, articulated masks—a skill much respected by the Old People. At traditional potlatches, he was often called upon to perform with the masks.
As Clan Chief, Tsungani devotes his time to continuing the legacy of his family. He is now the storyteller and narrator in the family educational presentations. Retired from dancing, he continues to share his vast knowledge and skills with the next generation. As a woodcarver he continues to work in the traditional styles creating masks, totem poles, bowls and rattles.
Keeping with tradition, Tsungani waited four years to potlatch as chief. In September 2001, Tsungani held a memorial potlatch for Lelooska and Shona-hah. The potlatch is an initiation ceremony for the children into the various dancing societies. Family members are given their Native Indian names which can only be legalized by the potlatch system. It is also a purification rite for any injustices done to us or by us against society as a whole and by our potlatch Laws we make things right by giving gifts to our guests as they are witnesses that these events took place.
Tsungani is married to Julia Stoll, and they have two daughters, Mariah Stoll-Smith Reese and Lottie Stoll-Smith. Mariah is married to Eric Reese and they have a daughter, Mara Isabel born in September of 2002, and son Isaac Edward born in January 2004.
All of Tsungani’s family participates in the educational programs and activities.
Julia Hart Stoll
Julia Hart Stoll, wife of Chief Tsungani Fearon Smith of the Lelooska Family, mother of Mariah Reese & Lottie Stoll-Smith, mother-in-law of Eric Reese, grandmother of Mara and Isaac Reese passed away on September 6, 2012 at 12:16 am surrounded by her family after battling breast cancer for 17 years.
Julia was an accomplished contemporary visual artist creating watercolors, prints, and paintings. Much of her work, including installations, focused on the riparian area behind her home in the Yale Valley. As a member of Blackfish Gallery for many years she enjoyed working and exhibiting with other artists. She had a love for the forest behind her house and drew many artists together to share in the beauty of the area.
Julia attended Swarthmore College and had a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR where she also taught classes for 18 years. As the artist in residence at Yale Elementary School she shared her knowledge and love for the arts to several generations of children.
She had a passion for all the arts, especially contemporary classical music, dance and singing that came together as founder and Artistic Director of the Yale Valley Arts Festival. She was eager to learn about everything: a new subject, a new language or the story of a person she just met. She loved the movement and expression of dance and enjoyed weekly classes at the local dance studio. She had a beautiful soprano voice that she loved to share as she sang with her church family on Sundays.
She believed in her community and often served on various boards and committees including the Yale Valley Library District, Friends of Yale Valley, Catlin Gabel, Integrated Landscape Management, the Lelooska Foundation and many more. Julia was a dancer in and an integral part of the Lelooska Cultural Center’s Living History Programs for over 40 years.
Julia could see the beauty and good in everyone and everything, and encouraged us all to be blessed by what God created. Julia loved her family dearly and was happy to have shared 42 years with the love of her life. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Lelooska Foundation, P.O. Box 526, Ariel, WA 98603
Patty Fawn is the third child and only daughter of Shona-Hah.
Tlakwastalilumga, Patty’s Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) name, means “precious as copper”. The name suits her well. Patty’s spontaneity, warmth and loving concern for others endears her to all who meet her.
A gifted and versatile artist, Patty specializes in Northwest Coast Indian jewelry and small sculpture. She works with both traditional designs and contemporary ones, drawing upon the mythology of the Northwest Coast Peoples for inspiration. Her materials include fossilized ivory, silver, gold, bone, shell, antler, and occasionally wood.
Of particular interest to collectors are Patty’s special pieces and limited edition works cast in silver and gold from ivory originals.
Patty is the mother of a daughter, Nakwesee and son, Jay. Nakwesee is married to Augustus, they were both jewelers and have retired as dancers in the educational programs. Patty has two grandchildren by her son, Jamie and Dustin.
Shona-Hah is the mother of Lelooska, Kwunkwa-dzi, Patty Fawn, and Tsungani. She was born in a black walnut log cabin in Oklahoma’s old Cherokee Nation. There, she was given the name Shona-Hah, “gray dove”. Her Kwakwaka’wakw name, Tl’alilhilugwa, bestowed in 1968, means “whale rising”.
Shona-Hah’s life bespeaks her Indian heritage. In her youth, she both trained horses and rode in races and exhibitions. As a small child, she began participating in the traditional dances and continued throughout her life. Always interested in all facets of Indian art, she exceled at beadwork, skin sewing, carving, painting, and doll making.
Her dolls are valued highly by private collectors and museums as illustrations of vanished cultures. They bring alive both ceremonial and every day events in the lives of the people of many different North American tribes. From the Osage of Oklahoma to the Kwakwaka’wakw of British Columbia, she draws on first-hand knowledge of the cultures and the memories of the Old Ones for her inspiration.
Shona-Hah’s children credit her with their love and respect for Indian art and traditions. She taught them the skills she had acquired and sacrificed to help them become artists in their own right.
“She and our grandfather,” Lelooska says, “imparted to us that which was to become the essence of our heritage.”
Passing away in October of 1997, Shona-Hah occupied a place of major importance in the family structure. A cohesive element in the group, she was also an important contributor to the educational programs. She not only participated in them, she also made many of the costumes.