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Indigenous Arts & Stories - Eagle Mother

Eagle Mother

2019 - Art Winner

Adam Lenk

Langley, BC
Tsimshian (Metlakatla Band in Prince Rupert)
Age 9

Author's Statement

My mom got an elk drum from our matriarch two years ago, when we joined an all-ages Tsimshian dance group in Vancouver. Mom didn't know what to paint on it. She said to me that she wanted to paint an eagle for our clan, the Royal House of Legaic symbol for our family heritage, and three things to show her three children. She helped me find out what our people draw as Tsimpshian. She showed me how to make a picture, and then to pencil transfer it to the drum. She told me that we only paint in three colours: black, red and turquoise. This was very hard to do, but I worked really hard. I had to use nail polish remover when I made a mistake. Sometimes I got frustrated, and sometimes it was easy. In the end, my mom was so happy, and it made her proud of me. We use our drums in the dances and cultural shares, and I am happy that she likes her drum.

1. The Eagle represents our clan.
2. The face represents our Royal House. I put it in the heart, because it is our family.
3. The three dots are for birth, life and death. They are to remember my lost sister, my living sister and me.
4. The three red feather lines next to the head are to remember our new family: me, my mom and my step-dad, and also that mommy thinks about us all the time.

I am Tsimshian.