In the Spirits of our Ancestors – Audio CD


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Yekawid, Chief Frank Nelson, was a member of the Musgamaqw-Dzawde’anuxw Nation and grew up between Gwayee (Kingcome) and Gwaysdams (Gilford). As a hereditary chief, he assumed his father’s position in June 1983 and became fully involved in his culture and working to keep that culture alive and ingrained in the youth.  Yeakwid was a dancer, accomplished craftsman, inspired composer, and a lead singer at potlatches.  He was a natural musician with a gift for both composition and singing. One of his most popular CDs, a compilation of songs for Tribal Journeys, is “In the Spirit of Our Ancestors” Yekawid Chief Frank Nelson.

Tribal Journeys was one of Chief Nelson’s passions and one of his greatest legacies. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes on the massive logistical challenge in organizing an event that brings together over a hundred canoes from the Pacific Northwest, each with 10 – 15 paddlers, support boats and road crews for a two week journey, which culminates in a festival. He coordinated and led his first canoe family in the 1992 Tribal Journeys as preparation for the grand and memorable canoe gathering in Victoria for the Commonwealth Games in 1994 – 25 canoes arriving in the Inner Harbour is a sight thousands of visitors took home with them. He became the “Father” of Tribal Journeys – his presence in each Journey was honoured.

He was not just part of the organization team though, he was out there on the water with his canoe family in his beloved canoe Dzunugwungis – many of the songs he wrote were inspired by his travels in his canoe and he attributed much of his healing journey to the time he spent on the water in Dzunugwungis.

He spent the last day of his life celebrating the opening of the Big House in Guilford, surrounded by family, friends and pageantry of the Musgamaqw-Dzawde’anuxw Nation culture; he sang his last songs at the center of the log. He was carried home in Dzunugwungis to his final resting place in the ‘Namgis graveyard in Yalis (Alert Bay).

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