Stats and Stories
Our grants making a difference

Nakkita Trimble

Program and component
Creating, Knowing and Sharing, Long-Term Projects

Community
Terrace, British Columbia

Field of practice
Customary Arts

Grant amount
$230,234 over three years

Fiscal year
2019–20

A Tattoo Revival for the Nisga’a Nation

A woman tattooing someone’s torso.
Nakkita Trimble, from the Nisga'a Nation in British Columbia, hand-poking a tattoo. Photo: Fred Cawsey

Nakkita Trimble has been working on tattoo revival for the Nisga’a Nation since 2013. With a Canada Council grant, she hopes to create 80 House crest tattoos.

Ceremonial tattoos as medicine

Trimble, whose Nisga’a name is Speaking Through Art, began practising tattoo art in 2014 using traditional methods like hand-poking and skin-stitching. She is deeply involved in reviving ceremonial tattooing, which she views as medicine in the face of high suicide rates among Indigenous youth. The designs are maternal and connected back through generations according to a crest system, binding tattoo recipients to their mothers’ ancestors and linking them to creation stories.

Connecting youth to their identities

Nisga’a traditional tattoos have been passed down through generations and appear on regalia and jewellery. For Nisga’a people, the tattoos communicate identity, origins, family connections, and more. One of Trimble’s goals is to have younger generations learn their identity and stories from the older generations for the purposes of getting tattoos. Ultimately, she aims to hand-poke 80 ten-hour House crest tattoos from 2020 to 2022 and film a documentary about the process to share with Nisga’a and Canadian audiences.

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Tagged As Stats and Stories Visual Arts Creating, Knowing and Sharing Long-Term Projects British Columbia