Coming from the K’omoks First Nation is very interesting. Our language is a Salishan language and anthropologists, in turn, classify us as Coast Salish. History, however, has ensured that alliances have tied us more closely with the Kwakwaka’wakw people to the north. To many Salish, we are seen as Kwakwaka’wakw and to many Kwakwaka’wakw, we are seen as Salish.
“Eagle Nest” encapsulates a lot of feelings around this. For many First Nations living today, we are faced with living in a dual world: at once traditional and at the same time contemporary. For those of us who are K’omoks, we take this one step further and balance our traditional lives with being both Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw.
While I know of no traditional K’omoks spindle whorls in museum collections, it does not preclude their existence. It is likely, in fact, that we used them like our other Salish relatives. By the mid-1900s, my great-grandmother would simply spin wool on her lap with her bare hands. Whenever I draw a spindle whorl design, I think about her and the knowledge she passed onto my mother.
“Eagle Nest” not only brings attention to the duality of our lives as K’omoks people, I also wanted to bring in a personal element. In 2002, my daughter Claire was born. With blond hair, blue eyes and light complexion harkening back to our Scandinavian roots, she became the little white eagle in our nest. In 2005, Matthew balanced out that nest. He was born with dark brown hairs, brown eyes and darker complexion.
They laugh and play, cry and fight and they bring balance into our lives.
– Andy Everson
Andy Everson (b. 1972) K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, is an artist from Comox, British Columbia. Influenced by his grandmother, he has always been driven to uphold the traditions of both the K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw First Nations.
Andy holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology. Because the K’ómoks First Nation land lies between the larger Salish and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw territories, his thesis focused on notions and expressions of contemporary K’ómoks 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 started his artistic career in 1990 when he designed and painted chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. Andy creates contemporary bold and unique imagery that remains rooted in the traditions of his ancestors.
Andy performs traditional songs and ceremonial dances at potlatches. He is also a member of the Le-La-La, the Gwa’wina and the K’umugwe dance groups.