Shawn Brigman, PhD is an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and descendant of the snʕáyckst (sinixt) and tk’emlúps te secwepemc (shuswap), both of whom are historically documented in ethnography reports as making bark sturgeon-nosed canoes. As a traditional artist for 16 years, his practice centers around ancestral recovery efforts, exploring and transforming the way people read Plateau architectural space by celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art and architectural heritage.
Bark sturgeon-nosed canoe shapes, construction techniques, and other characteristics are generated from centuries-old local patterns. Although there is diversity within the styles of northern Plateau sturgeon-nosed canoes, the principles of construction are the same and often the styles overlap with only subtle differences.
In 2013, he developed an original canoe interpretation with a unique frame and fabric skin now widely known across the Plateau region as a Salishan Sturgeon Nose Canoe. In a gallery setting, the translucent canoe skinned in ballistic nylon gives the canoe a flushed tint of chosen pigment while celebrating the visible interior framework.