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Nakkita Trimble

Residing campus
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Nakkita Trimble's Nisga’a name is 'Speaking Through Art'. She is from Wilps Axdii Wil Luugooda, the House that is Never Empty. She is from the Frog clan, maternally from Gingolx, British Columbia.

In October 2018, Nakkita won the BC First Nations Art Fulmer Award, which recognizes artists for excellence in their craft. 

Nakkita began studying art seriously in 2007. She completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts Transfer Program at Red Deer College, then attended the prestigious Ceramics program at Alberta’s College of Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary. While studying the history of clay in one of her ACAD classes, Nakkita started questioning why she was studying an art form that did not correlate with her identity and region. She continued, however, and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011.  

Every summer throughout her schooling, Nakkita taught art. She would also work with homeless shelters, running art classes throughout the year. One summer, she worked as an Artist-in-Residence with the the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA). Program participants were sent, in pairs, to 10 different reserves across Alberta. Nakkita was placed on a small Northern traditional Cree reserve with 100 to 200 residents. She lived in a house with a traditional healer and through ceremony with the Cree, began to realize how important her identity was – to her, her practice, and her people. She decided it was time to go home.

Upon returning to Northwest BC, Nakkita completed a tattoo apprenticeship at a local shop. She studied tattooing seriously from 2011 to 2013. Nakkita’s focus was to live in her home town and explore various art forms. She decided her tattoo portfolio still did not reflect her identity, however. So after a year of tattooing, she applied to the Freda Diesing Program to learn how to design form-line for tattooing.  

Nakkita attended Freda Diesing from 2013-2014. At the end of the year, she connected with a Nisga’a Elder who shared with her the oral history of Nisga'a tattooing prior to contact. Her family had kept secret a full body tattoo that happened in the 1850s - which was the time of contact for the Nisga'a. Working with her grandmother, Nakkita was able to record the first oral statement of Nisga'a tattooing prior to contact. With the recorded interview and permission from the family to share, she began working with the Council of Elders (CoE) comprised of some Chiefs and Matriarchs from the four main villages of the Nisga'a Nation.  Through the oral history shared in these meetings, the CoE and Nakkita put together the first exhibition on Nisga'a Tattooing and the oral history of the practice. The exhibition was displayed at the Nisga'a Museum in Greenville, BC. 

Since the research has begun the movement has grown. Nakkita is now connected with other Indigenous Tattoo Artists and travels from community to community to share the history and continue her research.  Last year Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) filmed an episode of a series called ‘Skindigenous on the Nisga'a Tattoo Revival’.  

Nakkita is now a mentor with a peer group called Earthline. The group teaches indigenous methods of tattooing include Hand Poking and Skin Stitching. They teach artists from various nations how to tattoo for their communities using the health and safety standards of the industry.