Giclee Edition 99 Released October 2008
The other night, I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning with my little son Matthew beside me. I cuddled up with him and had this vision of two wolves singing to the moon. On a rocky crest, their voices mingle. The strong, confident howl of the father and the first strained chords of his son join together to form a new song.
Whenever our dance group, the Kumugwe Dancers, do a dance performance, little Matthew is always at my feet when we enter. I sing with my brothers and he sits or stands right next to me. Often he wears a slightly-too-big chilkat tunic and carries his little drum. At these performances, though, he rarely sings. He watches, shyly, and learns. I know he is absorbing every little detail of our performance. Though quiet, he is learning by taking an active role in his culture. We feel that involving our children in cultural pursuits is one of the best things that we can do and something that our ancestors would be proud of.
Where at performances Matty is shy, at home it is another matter. He grabs his drum, gets down on one knee and chants, "Ha-may Ha-May." He gets his sister and uncle to dance the Bakwas, the Dzunukwa and the Sapa for him as he sings. Other times, he even entices me to dance for him. Shaking a rattle or banging his drum is as much a part of his childhood as playing with his trains. Sometimes, though, we don't have to dance. Matthew and I just look ahead, let our voices mingle and sing a new song. Together.
Andy Everson was born in Comox, BC in 1972 and named Na̱gedzi after his grandfather, the late Chief Andy Frank of the K’ómoks First Nation. Andy has also had the honour of being seated with the ‘Na̱mg̱is T̓sit̓sa̱ł'walag̱a̱me' name of Ḵ̓wa̱mxa̱laga̱lis I'nis. Influenced heavily by his grandmother, he has always been driven to uphold the traditions of both the K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw First Nations. In this regard, Andy has pursued avenues where he can sing traditional songs and perform ceremonial dances at potlatches and in a number of different dance groups, most notably the Le-La-La Dancers, the Gwa'wina Dancers and the K’umugwe Dancers.
Pursuing other areas of traditional culture has also led Andy to complete a Master’s degree in anthropology. Because the K’ómoks First Nation lies on the border between the larger Salish and Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw realms, his thesis focused on notions and expressions of contemporary Comox identity. His work in anthropology provided him with a background in linguistics which subsequently inspired him to create a company, Copper Canoe, Inc, that specialized in the creation of Aboriginal language media.
Andy feels that his artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments. Although he began drawing Northwest Coast art at an early age, Andy's first serious attempt wasn’t until 1990 when he started designing and painting chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. From these early self-taught lessons, he has tried to follow in the footsteps of his Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of his ancestors. The ability to create and print most of his own work has allowed Andy to explore and express his ancestral artwork in a number of contemporary ways.