Bruce Cook decided at a young age that he wanted to become an artist as he watched his uncle carving a small model canoe. Little did he know what a large undertaking it would be, with such Haida luminaries as Charles Edenshaw, Tom Price, Bill Reid, and Robert Davidson setting the standard for those who would follow.
While Cook was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, the family soon moved to the Wind River reservation. He has family from both the Northern Arapaho and Haida cultures. As a young man in 1988, Cook traveled with his family back to Alaska to visit his grandparents where he stayed to study Haida art with family friend and relative Warren Peele. In 1992 he moved to Seattle where he met Steven C. Brown, and began carving and studying with him. Along with his own work, Cook also carved a sixteen-foot canoe with Brown and assisted Shaun Peterson in carving a thirty-five foot sculpture called “The Return of the Story Pole” for the Chief Leschi School in Seattle.
Cook is an active participant in his community by being involved with the Haida Heritage Foundation, a group created twenty-two years ago to keep the Haida culture strong within an urban setting. He uses his artistic talents to create new masks, paddles, and rattles to help in bring the dances to life. Preservation of Haida culture is very important to Cook, who strives to keep Haida traditions alive by using his art to inspire the younger generation to become active in Haida culture and politics and to be proud of who they are.