Legacy - Unframed 13x19

Artist: Andy Everson

My grandparents met in Alert Bay in the 1920s. My grandfather, a young fisherman and my grandmother, a cannery worker and daughter of a prominent Fort Rupert chief soon married. Through the marriage, my grandmother brought many rights and privileges. One of these items in her dowry was the right to build a traditional Kwakiutl-style bighouse. After the potlatch law was dropped from the Indian Act, my grandfather made it his mission to carry through this right. By 1957 he had enough money saved. During this time, however, most K’omoks didn’t want the bighouse located on the reserve. My grandfather toiled to build it—with David Martin carving the house posts—in the city of Courtenay. The bighouse wasn’t moved to the reserve until after his death. Its presence now on the reserve is a lasting cultural legacy gifted from my grandparents.

I grew up with my grandmother teaching me about our culture. She was veryimportant to me. When she passed away in 1997—at 99 years of age—we put an eagle at the peak of her bighouse. The right to do this was passed to her from father. Every time I look up at the eagle, I think about her and how influential she was to our family and our community in general. Through watching my nieces and nephews dance, I am made to realize that her legacy is stronger now than it ever was before.

This print is dedicated to the memory of my grandparents and the legacy that they left us. Through years of stormy weather and vicious south-easters, the roof of their legacy—our bighouse—is currently in a state of disrepair. Partial proceeds from the sale of this print at the I-Hos Gallery in Comox will go towards fixing that roof. Gilakasla! Thank you!

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