American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

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Joe 'Hugga' Dana


Joe 'Hugga' Dana is the finest Native American chip carver, ever. This opinion is shared by most people knowledgeable about the art of chip carving. View his work to understand why many believe he is the best.

Hugga was raised on Indian Island, the heart of the Penobscot Nation, he lives there still. He was raised to embrace his traditional and cultural heritage. He is happiest when canoeing on the Penobscot River to fish, hunt, or pick fiddleheads. Hugga believes these things connect him to the spirit of his people. His family tree connects him to John and Orson Neptune, Olympic runner Andrew Sockalexis and Cleveland Indian namesake, Louis Socalexis.

He was taught chip carving by his father, Stan Neptune who learned the art from an elder and shaman, Senabeh Francis. The first items to be carved were root clubs, later walking sticks were carved in the root club traditions and the most recent form to be chip carved is talking sticks.

Hugga's father Stan Neptune is currently documenting the history of chip carved root clubs and has traced some from the early 1600's. There is a long history of Penobscot (and the other 4 Wabanaki tribes) carving native faces, animals and spirit beings in the root burl of a gray birch tree. These clubs include traditional designs such as leaves, floral, double curves and feathers which are carved, incised and chip carved. Historically the root clubs spoke of tribal identity, family clans and the connection to elements of nature.

Hugga continues to express himself and his beliefs in these values using the time honored art of chip carving.