Chuck is Gitksan from the Skeena River country in northern British Columbia, Canada. He was born into the house of Geel, the leading Fireweed clan house in Kispiox. Chuck’s Gitksan name is Ts’iixsts’ap, however the name he likes to use the most to sign his carvings is Ya’Ya.
Chuck began to carve in a place called K’san in nearby Hazelton. Chuck was lucky to have a lot of good artists working together at K’san when he was there. He learned a great deal from artists like, Ken Mowatt, Vernon Stephens, Art Sterritt and Earl Muldoe. However, Chuck acknowledges his uncle Chief Walter Harris as his main teacher and mentor. When Chuck became a bit older he enrolled in K’san’s ‘Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art as the school’s youngest pupil and continued an apprenticeship with his uncle at the same time. Once he graduated from art school he was immediately hired as an instructor, the youngest instructor the school has ever had.
Chuck helped master artists out on their major commissions, Earl Muldoe, Ken Mowatt, Robert Davidson and of course Walter Harris. Upon Chuck receiving his own commissions, Walter Harris happily returned the help he had received from his nephew. Chuck has assisted with, as well as designed a significant number of totem poles for all types of private, corporate and public collections. However, the project Chuck is most proud of is the piece closest to his heart, a large wall panel for the new school in his hometown of Kispiox, BC.