Freda Diesing


June 2, 1925 (d. 2002)

Prince Rupert, BC

Freda Diesing was the daughter of Flossie Lambly (Haida) and Frank Johnson (Swedish). She was one of the first students to enroll at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Art (K’san), and received training from Bill Holm, Tony Hunt, and Robert Davidson during the early 1970s. Freda was one of the most talented and successful female wood carvers on the Northwest Coast. She produced numerous masks, bowls, sculptures, and totem poles. Among the many poles that she completed, two were raised in the community of Kitsumkalum, and one was raised in Terrace in 1987 for the town’s RCMP station. Freda is perhaps as well-known for her teaching as she is for her carving. She possessed a passion for passing on both the techniques and the history of First Nations art within Northern British Columbia. Her students included Norman Tait, Dempsey Bob, and her nephew, Don Yeomans. She received an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia in May 2002, and was also awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in March of that same year. Freda passed away on December 4, 2002.