People on the coast spent the spring, summer and fall gathering sustenance for the long harsh winters. The winter was for singing and dancing. The people gathered in their longhouses and related to one another by remembering and honoring their ancestors and sharing a genealogical relationship with the people of other houses. By naming the house posts, the people remembered their ancestors who were direct descendants of the house that had passed on before.The wolves in the design represent the Warrior Society among some of the coastal First Nations.
One day a friend called to say, “The Coho are in the Bay!” Salmon return to the river of their birth after spending four years in their villages far out in the ocean. The Salmon People have been doing this annually since the beginning of time. Every year their return generates incredible excitement. Fisherman eagerly get their gear together hoping for a prosperous season so they can take care of their families. Years ago I was a fisherman. My friend’s call filled my mind with images of what it is like when “The Coho are in the Bay.”
Nytom often wonders what it would take to live in a perfect world: A place where people took only what they needed, left the rest for others and always got along. This image is what I imagined the world would be like if there was such a place.
Nytom was commissioned to create a glass panel design for the entryway of the home of two friends who came together at a later time in life. The new moon is symbolic of a fresh start and a new love. A limited edition print was also created, and was handed out at a dinner to welcome family and friends to their home.
Looking closely at this design, you can see two faces sharing one mouth. This represents the concept of people agreeing on an idea. There are four other faces incorporated in the design, which add their own interpretation to the concept of the talking circle. New ideas keep our cultural moving. Change is the constant. We embrace the change as we move ahead in our society.
After the federal government signed treaties with the First Nations of the US, the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave everyone English names and enrollment numbers to keep track of us. They never enough cared to realize that we had a powerful sense of family and relationship with one another, which came about through a highly developed naming system that provided a system of order and rank.