Gina Laing

For years Gina Laing followed her grandmothers up the river behind the cannery to bathe. They’d walk along a little creek to a waterfall that poured into a clear green pond. A canopy of trees and ferns shaded the women as they slipped, fully clothed, into the water. How noble and then comical they looked when they emerged again — arms in a V, hands turned upwards, clothes plastered to their skin, their long black braids dripping.
Both grandmothers were gone now. And that memory seemed far away as Laing, at 17, pushed her way through the trees. She had returned from residential school a year earlier. Stepping over the stones, she walked closer to the rushing water. She sat down on a large rock and studied the gun in her lap. Her last living grandmother had just died. The only person who “loved her without conditions.” Slowly she lifted the heavy, metal object to her mouth.
Just then she heard a noise that made her look up. A blue heron hurtled through the sky, squawking wildly before belly flopping into the water, legs and wings splayed. Screeching and hollering, the bird climbed onto a rock and shook itself off. “I couldn’t help it. I started laughing,” she remembered. “I put the gun down. I started laughing. I started crying. I started laughing. I started crying. I figured, ‘Well if you can be so ugly and awkward and fall all over the place and pick yourself up, I can do the same!”
Gina Laing is now 67. A gentle woman with a warm manner and a penchant for flower-print shirts, she’s a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. She watches Jim Carrey’s Lior Liar when she’s upset, or a Burt Lancaster movie where the good guys always win.” She also likes horror movies because she needs “to believe that there are things more terrible than what happened.”

Gina Laing
Artist Artwork
Medicine Bag
Medicine Bag, Beaded Green Salamander
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Medicine Bag, Dream Catcher Design on beige leather
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Medicine bag, Beaded White Eagle on Burgundy Leather
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Medicine Bag, Beaded Eagle on Red Suede
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Medicine Bag, Hummingbird on Black Leather
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Medicine Bag, Beaded White Eagle on Black suede
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Medicine Bag, Beaded Whale on Red Suede
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Medicine Bag, Beaded Hummingbird on black suede
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Medicine Bag, Water Spirit,
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Medicine Bag, Beaded Blue Heron on Black Leather
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