don bonner

don bonner


metal | mixed


Don Bonner, son of Douglas and Carol Bonner. Member of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, members of the Bear clan of the Algonquin Nation, came late in life to embrace his ancestry. He has been on Tribal Journeys for three years and looking forward to another journey when they start up again. In all the work he does he looks to blend western and eastern styles of contemporary indigenous art.

His personal journey to understand his heritage, is done in art. He blends traditional ways of making art and regalia with contemporary tools. His art is produced both by hand and using traditional tools, computers, and modern tools such as laser cutters. He first started by building Traditional Native North American 5-hole flutes. All his flutes are made of branches harvested locally. He then started making jewelry, earrings, chokers, necklaces and bolo ties. Using both traditional tools, materials and computer aided tools to carve in wood, reclaimed wood, leather, bone and other traditional materials.

artist statement

If you have seen the movie Black Panther you will have an idea of how I come to make the art I do. I try and imagine what everyday items would look like on Turtle Island if colonialism never happened. I do a lot of prototype work on new children’s toys, old and forgotten indigenous games, jewelry, regalia, and musical instruments. All are made with traditional organic materials like leather, wood, bone, and other animal products. Through art is how I proceed on my journey to discover my ancestry.