Giclée Edition 5 Released July 2011
A long time ago, a man was warned by the Creator that the world would be covered by a great flood and that he must wait for a gigantic sea monster named 'Na̱mx̱iyalegiyu, or ‘Something Terrible,’ to rise from the depths. When the rain ceased to stop, this great monster appeared. The man climbed onto its humongous back as it sank once again to the depths of the ocean. The Creator gave the man the supernatural power to breathe underwater as 'Na̱mx̱iyalegiyu protected him.
When the flood had subsided, 'Na̱mx̱iyalegiyu returned the man to the surface of the water and put him ashore at X̱wa̱lkw where the mouth of the Nimpkish river would later appear. The man took on the name ‘Na̱mukustolis, or ‘Only One in the World,’ and became the first ancestor of the ‘Na̱mg̱is people. He was initially so lonely that he ended up snaring some birds and transforming them into humans in order to keep him company.
In honour of the protection given to ‘Na̱mukustolis, his descendants in the T̓sit̓sa̱ł'walag̱a̱me' na̱mi’ma of the 'Na̱mg̱is continue to use ‘Na̱mx̱iyalegiyu as their primary crest. ‘Na̱mx̱iyalegiyu is known to be so immense that the tides rise and fall with its movement. Its face is characterized by a large wide mouth with many teeth and gills set in its cheeks. The center of its forehead features a magic quartz crystal and its brows are surmounted by supernatural horns. It has the body of a halibut and the large dorsal fin of a killer whale. It is so massive that ‘Na̱mukustolis was a mere speck on its back.
All Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people have origin stories that trace their descent back to the original ancestors.The telling of these stories is called Na̱wiła [NUH-wee-thla] in our language. Part of my proud ancestry goes back to ‘Na̱mukustolis and it is part of my rights to tell this story to you. I designed this as a drum because a lot of the time when I’m sharing stories, I’m also singing them.... I decided to release this design in 5 colour variations denoted by the Kwak̓wala words for blue, white, green, black and yellow: dzasa [DZAH-sa], ‘ma̱la [muh-LAH], ła̱nx̱a [THLIN-ha], t̕suła [DZOO-thla] and t̕łixstu [DLEE-stew], respectively.
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.