Woman of Ice
Print Method: Giclée
Released: March 2019
Paper Size: 8.5" x 11" (optional matt: 11"x 14")
Growing up, I absolutely LOVED playing with toys. In fact, I was thoroughly obsessed with them! They fueled my imagination and encouraged me to read and do research in the school library. My toys pushed me to become fascinated with historical wars, dinosaurs, castles and space exploration. One type of toy that I never found, however, was anything that had to do with my own Kwakwaka’wakw background. On the occasional instances where Indigenous people were represented in toys, they invariably fell under the “Cowboys and Indians” genre, not the “Totem poles and Potlatching” kind of Indian. I could never find toys that really mirrored who I was. As a result, I never really started researching my own people until I had put my toys away as a teenager. As a devout researcher now, however, I am more than happy to project some real Indigenous context onto the toys of my childhood.
As a young child, my partner Erin Brillon was bestowed with the Haida name Ḵalga Jaad, or “Woman-of-Ice”. This name is also currently held by Erin’s maternal grandmother, Evelyn. The name is an important ancestral prerogative that has been in the lineage since the time of the last glaciation. The very first Ḵalga Jaad lead her people to the south to escape the encroaching ice age. Passed down through the generations, this name follows the Haida matrilineal system in going to the first born females of the lineage. Before Evelyn the name was held by Erin’s 6x-great-grandmother Ḵalga Jaad, sometime around the time of first contact with Europeans.