While driving through the town of Forks, Washington, you may have seen a mural on the side of the Sasquatch The Legend building (pictured above) and wondered who made the mural and what it's all about.
"It’s Dzoonakwa, (pronounced Joo-na-kwa) which is my tribe’s name for Sasquatch,” says Tom Sewid, the artist who created the piece. A member of the Mamalilikulla Tribe from the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation from Northern Vancouver Island, Canada, Sewid explains that his tribe is one of the closest tribes affiliated with Sasquatch. In tribal tradition, animal crests are like money, and the crest of Sasquatch depicted on his tribe’s totem poles is its highest ranked crest, showing the regard for the Sasquatch beings among his people.
Sewid’s art is a faithful representation of his tribe’s traditional style, yet has a modern freshness to it. “Sasquatch is part of my ancestors but Sasquatch is also part of today, and I think my art shows that,” explains Sewid.
One of Sewid’s favorite pieces is a painting he made showing a Dzoonakwa carrying two salmon (pictured above). It depicts an encounter had by a friend of Sewid’s who was camping near a river late one night when he heard the crunching of something large and heavy walking along on the gravel bar in the river. The friend peered outside of his tent, shone his flashlight toward the sound, and saw a huge Sasquatch carrying two salmon. Another favorite piece depicts a traditional story from Sewid's ancestors, about Dzoonakwa grabbing children who misbehave, tossing them into a basket on his back, and carrying them away (pictured below).
“I love hearing people’s stories about Sasquatch and seeing people interacting with the art I’ve made, taking pictures with the murals and stuff like that. It’s a great feeling, seeing people enjoy it,” says Sewid.
In addition to his work as an artist, Sewid strives to assist members of his community who are troubled by encounters with Sasquatch, such as a fellow First Nations member who contacted him recently. The man was working with a bush crew in a very isolated site in coastal British Columbia when he and other crew members had a daytime sighting of a Sasquatch. They also found tracks and a bed in ferns on the forest floor. The night after the work crew saw the Sasquatch, it came by their cabin at night, and the next night, they saw it looking in their window!
Alarmed by these close encounters, the men asked Sewid what to do. He recommended leaving apples as a gift for the Sasquatch, to show respect. The men did so, the apples disappeared, and the men were able to continue their work without any further visits from the Sasquatch.
"Respect between we humans of the day and Sasquatch, the humans of the night, is something we First Nation/North American Indians know must be achieved. That is why we never speak of or condone harming Sasquatch," states Sewid.
Sasquatch The Legend offers a selection of Sewid’s original designs printed onto t-shirts, mugs, etc. here: https://sasquatchthelegend.com/collections/thomas-sewid
To find out more about Sewid, visit his group, "Sasquatch Island" on Facebook, come see him speak at the Yakima Valley Bigfoot Con this month, or email him directly at email@example.com.
By Christina Hebert