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Published: 10 June 2017

By Andy Ross

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James Teit and the Tahltan

In 1884, at the age of nineteen, James Teit emigrated from his native Shetland to British Columbia where he worked as a guide, linguist and activist. 

This fascinating man recorded the songs and stories of the Tahltan people of northern British Columbia, gathered photographs and artefacts and other ethnographic information at the request of the community. Amongst the pieces are clothing, footwear and bags fashioned from skins, canvas and intricate beadwork. 

On a recent visit to the Shetland Museum, we purchased the book about James Teit and this book is in the reference library in the studio in Yell. Beautifully presented with stories and photographs, the book shows the craftsmanship of the makers, and the skill James showed in recognising and collecting pieces before it was too late. The important collection showcased in this book is an invaluable resource and inspiration for adventurers of all kinds. 

The studio library is open to the public. Although not a lending library, visitors are welcome to browse the books. Please email us if you want to set aside time to use the collection.