Complications of two-eyed seeing
Gratitude and honor to the Lhaq’temish people
With a heart shaped by humility and a mind open to reflection, I extend my acknowledgment to the Lummi Nation, known as well to their own as the Lhaq’temish people or the Salmon People. These original stewards of the land—where I live, learn, and express my creativity—possess a history as rich as the forests and a spirit as enduring as the river. I acknowledge the historical injustices they have faced, injustices that also touch upon the history of my own Tlingit people.
I am Káa Sháyee, a Tlingit Alaska Native living in Ferndale, Washington, where I’ve taken root for three decades. My life’s work manifests in the artistry of Tlingit Formline design—a tradition that carries on through my creative efforts. Although I create on Lummi land, the interwoven fabric of Indigeneity binds us in a shared ethos of resilience, the duty of cultural stewardship, and an unwavering reverence for our Mother Earth.
Both the Lummi Nation and my Tlingit people have navigated histories marked by forced relocation and cultural suppression. The Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855 serves as a milestone of Lummi displacement and the abrogation of their inherent sovereignty—historical parallels that cast their shadows on my Tlingit kin.
In my art and scholarly pursuits, I seek to be a vessel for the silenced voices and an advocate for the cultural revival of our Indigenous communities. Guided by the wisdom of my ancestors, my work pays homage to the enduring spirit of the Lummi Nation, and the myriad Indigenous nations that tread a path of resurgence and healing.
As I engage with this land, every contour and hue in my artwork is a tribute to its original caretakers. I live in harmony with the Lummi Nation’s ancestral wisdom, which fills me with a profound respect for the tapestry of histories, spiritual journeys, and survival narratives that define us as Indigenous peoples.
With each stroke that etches history onto canvas, I affirm the Lummi Nation’s unbreakable connection to this land. I extend the deepest roots of my respect not only to the Lummi but to all Indigenous peoples, near and far, whose legacies of resistance and renewal light our collective path.
To those who share this land, I extend an invitation: Join me in a reciprocal journey of education, introspection, and active commitment. Let us unite in honoring the Lummi Nation, and all Indigenous communities, by respecting their rights, acknowledging their histories, and cherishing their vibrant cultures.