The Origin of the Nka Goose Design

The Origin of the Nka Goose Design

Aanii nwiijkiwenyig (Hello my friends)!

June is National Indigenous History Month and it is our busiest month of the year. We have many events to attend as vendors such as the Maamwi Kindaaswin Pow-Wow in North Bay, ON and the Na-Me-Res Traditional Pow Wow in Toronto. As such, we have delayed launching our newest product online: the Nka Goose T-Shirt! Visitors at our events got first dibs on this brand new design and I'm so happy that it has been well-received.

But why did I pick the Canada goose?

The design for the Nka Goose T-Shirt came from a sudden vision I had of the profile of a large goose with its wing scooping forward. Even the colours I’ve used in the final artwork were a part of that vision. When I got up, I sketched what I saw in my mind’s eye, working at it until it was complete. The exact species of goose in my vision was not clear, but when I was sketching, I felt that it should be a Canada goose because it is native to this land that is now called Canada.

I don’t know why this image appeared to me, but after leaving the sketch for a while, I was looking through some resources to find an Anishinaabemowin translation and came across a story about Nanabush and a gaggle of geese. I’d found the translation (“nkak”), but even more interestingly, when I looked at the back of the book, I saw my grandmother’s name – she had helped to translate the stories! Later that same day, I saw a post from another Indigenous business called Mini Tipi about how the arrows in their logo represent geese in flight, which, according to them, means teamwork, community, and determination. Geese again?!

As a skeptic, I don’t normally put a lot of stock into anything fanciful/supernatural/eerie/whatever you want to call it, but I was pretty blown away by these coincidences! I started to reflect more on the presence of geese in my life and remembered that the stylized ampersand in my Pre&Peri logo has always reminded me of Indigenous artist Benjamin Chee Chee’s famous artwork which features Canada geese. My mom had a shirt with his artwork on it when I was a kid and the shape of that goose always stayed with me without my being fully conscious of it. Upon further reflection, I remembered that my mom actually used to call me Goosey. Don’t ask; I have no idea why!

Okay, I think there is a connection here… I have always enjoyed seeing Canada geese in the wild, but I never read much into it. It’s amazing how a connection to a seemingly unimportant thing can suddenly appear. I still don’t fully understand the significance of the Canada goose in my life, but I hope to uncover the meaning as I continue my journey.

Baamaapii (Until next time)!

- Caitlin Wemigwans, Owner/Designer Pre&Peri

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