Resolute by Andy Everson
Resolute by Andy Everson Resolute by Andy Everson

Resolute by Andy Everson

Mask Series II
Signed & Numbered

When I think about my grandparents, my mind turns to thoughts about how resolute they were. I try to imagine what they went through during their lives and the struggles that they faced. They survived the great flu epidemic of a century ago and witnessed the increasing marginalization of Indigenous peoples in our own lands. They persevered through the illegality of the potlatch and came through on the other side disappointed, but still eager to teach their children the ways of their ancestors. My grandfather went to residential school and was punished for speaking his language. He later came back to K’omoks and raised my mom surrounded and immersed in the Kwakwala language. They were resolute in continuing in the ways of their ancestors.

I then think about their parents, grandparents and great grandparents alike. They watched as settlers slowly moved into their territories and gained control over their lands in the name of a never-seen foreign king or long-reigning queen. They saw their friends and family quickly suffer and disappear from introduced disease. They went to war with other tribes as greed from the new economy invariably spread as rapidly as any epidemic. Though our numbers dwindled to a mere 5% of our original population, we continued on because my ancestors were so resolute in passing on their culture.

Today, our culture is a battered set of armour that surrounds and protects us. Dented, scarred and sometimes refurbished, it stands as a testament to the old peoples being so resolute. Our culture is a gift from our ancestors. It has withstood suffering, death, attack, malice, racism and attempted genocide and, yet, it still guides us to this day. If history has taught us anything, it is that we must also be resolute for the generations yet to come.