Idle No More! Silkscreen Edition 75 Released May 2016
Motivated by the prospect of several awful omnibus bills being pushed through Canadian parliament, the Idle No More movement was created as a way to demonstrate that Indigenous peoples would no longer stand idly by. Beginning in December of 2012, the movement spread like wildfire. Flash mobs were held in malls and solidarity rallies were organized outside MP’s offices across the country. Soon, demonstrations were held in the United States, Europe and beyond. While begun and maintained primarily by Indigenous peoples, settler supporters offered a significant amount of support to the movement in many regions.
Going to my first rally on December 29, I needed a poster to bring along. Knowing that the fist and feather with its image of strength and spirituality was quickly becoming the symbol of the movement, I thought it would be fitting if I created one in the formline style indicative of the west coast. I quickly drew up this image at my dining room table and then put it on my Facebook page and it suddenly went viral. Soon, this image appeared on poster boards, buttons, t-shirts, stickers and banners. My feeling was that I wanted this image to go out into the world and find a life of its own. It did.
I decided to finally put the image to paper to commemorate the significance that this movement had on worldwide Indigenous peoples. While it has certainly gotten a lot more quiet on the Idle No More front in recent years, the image of the fist and feather is as poignant as ever.
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.