Welcome Family and Friends to Our Bighouse

Nella Nelson, Karin Clark


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This contemporary story is told through the voice of a 12-year-old Kwakwaka’wakw girl named Gana, who lives in ‘Yalis (Alert Bay, British Columbia). From the time she is little, Gana attends Potlatches and ceremonies in the Bighouse. The regalia she wears—a button blanket, dancing apron and masks—were designed and made for her based on her family origins or clans. The ancient cultural teachings she learns in the Bighouse are useful to Gana in her everyday life and continue to have value in the 21st century.

Ages 8 – 18

The Royal Museum Shop is operated by the Royal BC Museum Foundation. All proceeds from the sale of merchandise go directly towards supporting the many fine programs and special events at the Royal BC Museum.

May 2017, PB, 96 pages

ISBN 9780973676990

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Nella Cook Nelson, originally from the N’amgis Nation, was born and raised in Alert Bay, B.C. It wasn’t until Nella was in grade 4 that integration occurred and aboriginal students were allowed to attend the public schools. When she was 12-years-old, the first Bighouse since the anti-potlatch law had been lifted was built in Alert Bay.

Nella attended both Camosun College and the University of Victoria. When she started teaching in public schools in 1979, aboriginal content didn’t exist. After 11 years teaching, she has coordinated the Victoria School District’s Aboriginal Nations Education Division for 27 years. She serves on Provincial, college, university, community boards and advisory committees to improve aboriginal health, safety and education.

Nella has received the Queen’s 125 Commemorative Medal, YM/YWCA Women of Distinction, Camosun’s Distinguished Alumni, and Excellence in Cultural Heritage & Diversity Awards.

Karin Clark is a writer, teacher, and artist with over 35 years experience working with both children and adults. She learned from and taught with British Columbia’s First Nations in public and private schools, colleges, and art classes, as well as university teacher education programs.

With a primary focus on building bridges of understanding among cultures, Karin has written and published 9 books about how to appreciate as well as how to draw, paint and carve in the artistic styles of the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations. She has also written and co-written 21 books about aspects of First Nations culture for use by teachers and students in schools.

Additional information

Dimensions 11 × 8.5 in

Paperback, Hardcover


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