Leonard was born in the small fishing village of Holy Cross, located in a small alcove on the Yukon River in southwestern Alaska. He lived here until the age of 12 when his family moved to Anchorage and Leonard ran head first into a culture that did not accept him. Looking for a traditional medium in which to express his culture and traditions, Leonard began carving bone, antler and stone – finally choosing walrus ivory as his medium. Only Native Americans can legally possess and carve ivory.
This work is the culmination of many decades of carving experience – each piece an embodiment of both the artists own personal history as a child growing up on the banks of the Yukon River and the influences of his Athabascan forebears.