Shawn was born in Vancouver, BC, in 1980 and raised by his grandfather in his late mother’s community of Gitkxaala (Kitkatla), a small Tsimshian community southwest of Prince Rupert on the north side of Dolphin Island (Lach klan).
The name Kitkatla derives from the Tsimshian name Gitkxaala, from git- (people of) and kxaala (open sea), since they are the farthest from the mainland of the Tsimshian Nations.
Shawn comes from the Ganhada (Raven) Clan, House of Dzewalaks. He was inspired to create art at an early age by seeing the remaining totem poles in his community and by his environment. Shawn also became aware of his late mother’s interest in Northwest Coast art, and this fueled his passion. He always wants to improve and learn more about his culture.