Culture

List of Nuu-Chah-Nulth Meanings for Gordon Dick’s Art Work

Butterfly – This is known as a colorful, lively and free spirit

“D” Adzes – This was versatile a tool used by Tseshaht artists and craftsmen for shaping house posts, poles, as well as hollowing out dugout canoes and masks.

Drum – Gordon’s paternal great grandfather, John Dick, was a lead singer for the Tseshaht people. Gordon’s maternal great grandfather, Willie Haipee was also a prominent singer from the Ucluelet.

Eagle – (Thl –uh- wah-ten) soars high. This bird represents strength and respect. Some tribes initiate members into the eagle.

Eclipse The Eclipse is described in a Nuu-chah-nulth story of a supernatural Ling Cod Swallowing the moon, which blackens the night sky until the Ling Cod releases it.

Halibut Hook – Gordon grew up fishing; and fishes to this day when he is not carving. When he was younger he often fished in Barkely Sound where his grandfather, Allan Dick grew up

Hummingbird – This is a symbol of life. In Nuu-chah-nulth culture it is considered good luck if you find a humming bird’s nest.

Killer whale – (Ka –ka – win) is a highly respected animal to the Nuu-chah-nulth people. It was sometimes depicted in sacred dances. It was never hunted.

Kingfisher – The Kingfisher makes a loud call when it dives for fish. In Nuu-chah-nulth culture, it is considered to bring you good luck because it is rare to see a Kingfisher.

Moon – Our ancestors followed the cycle of the moon and utilized its strength. Cleansing, hunting and whaling are some activities that occurred at the onset of the New moon. None of these activities were continued after the full moon.

Owl – An owl is a messenger in Nuu-chah-nulth culture.

Paddle – The canoe was the primary mode of transportation for the Tseshaht people. They utilized it to travel to and from seasonal homes as well as to engage enemies in warfare. The paddle symbolizes unity – When all in the canoe (Chuputz) are pulling together, they become one.

Rattle – Nuu-chah-nulth used the rattle for ceremonial purposes. Some rattles were traditionally made of Red Cedar and Alderwood.

Raven – (Ko-ishin) the “Trickster” often used in children’s stories that taught morality and good conduct by virtue of his mistakes.

Salmon – (Mii-aht) A valuable food source for the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Salmon fed the community. Our ancestors followed the Salmon by the cycle of the moon.

Sea Wolf – This is a Killer whale that transforms into a wolf when it reaches land. Some of our people have claimed to witness this transformation.

Seasonal Moon – The social, cultural and economic activities of the Tseshaht people were dictated by the seasons. The different seasons were spent gathering different types of seafood, game and other foods.

Thunderbird – The Thunderbird comes from the spirit world and helps to feed the people. He is the one we look to and ask for help.

Thunderbird and Grey Whale design. The Thunderbird comes from the spirit world and helps to feed the people. This design is a symbol of the people feasting on the Grey Whale.

Wolf (Qwayat-siik) – The wolf symbolizes family. Each wolf in the pack has a role to fulfill. The leader oversees the pack and keeps the lead when they travel and directs their hunt for food.

Migratory
This design was inspired by the migration of the gray whales through the west coast Nuu-Chah–Nulth territory. They migrate through this territory in February and March and again in July and August. During March and April is when the Nuu-chah-nulth people would hunt for whales to feed the people.