Released April 2015
While most of my Indigenous ancestors come from Vancouver Island, my granny’s great-grandmother—Anisa̱lag̱a—comes from the Tlingit people of modern-day Alaska. She was a chilkat weaver born into nobility. When she moved down to Kwakwaka’wakw territory, she brought not only her weaving traditions with her but also the rights for her descendants to wear this style of garment. My grandmother used to watch her weave and was very adamant about who possessed these rights and who didn’t.
Many of my Tlingit forefathers were warriors. When their family, their village, and their territory was threatened, they did not hesitate to defend them at all costs. When preparing for battle many of them would don slatted armour suits and hard wooden helmets carved with their crest imagery. Whether facing off against other First Nations or even Russians with firearms, they entered battle wearing their ancestral lineage and ancestral pride.
In modern times, our warriors have put down their daggers and bows. In their place we take up weapons of a different sort. We adapt. We replace our slatted armour with a suit and tie. We run pitched battles in court rooms or stand outside in protest. We pursue an education. We walk on the narrow path between tradition and modernity; between past and future. The hat on this helmet displays the Kwakwaka’wakw crest of the sisiyutł—the double-headed serpent. This symbol of the warrior reminds us of the dichotomies in life—good and evil, right and wrong—and puts a human face in the middle to teach us that we must choose where we stand.
“Northern Warrior” is a limited edition print using the giclée method of printmaking. This print was released in April of 2015 and printed by Andy Everson at Copper Canoe, the artist’s own studio in Comox B.C. A total of 121 prints bear the title “Northern Warrior” and are signed by Andy Everson: 99 in the primary edition bearing the numbers 1/99 through 99/99; 9 Artist’s Proofs; 9 Remarques and 4 Printer’s Proofs. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures about 17x17.75 inches. Image size measures about 15.5x16 inches.