Artist: William Cyril Cook
Tribal Affiliation: Kwak waka’wakw
Birthplace: Alert Bay, B.C.
William was born in Alert Bay, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, on June 23rd 1974. He is part of the “Namgis” First Nation. He was raised by his parents, Karen & Willie Cook, who come from very large families. William was raised in the Kwak waka’wakw tradition by his grandparents, Florence and Gus Matilpi, who he thanks for his cultural education. His grandfather Gus handed a high ranking dance called the “Hamasta” down to him, which he is very proud to own. William learned how to draw as a young man through Fran Dick and his grandpa Gus. William then moved to Victoria for high school and to pursue a soccer career, which led him to travel the word playing matches. At the age of 19 he started to carve jewellery. His influences include Patty Seaweed and Henry Nelson. William has a few native names: “Malidzas” is his everyday name, and “Tanis” is his name as a dancer. William married Debbie on February 23rd 2008 in a Longhouse, where they had a traditional Kwaguith wedding. William lives in Victoria with his family. He is a strong “Kwaguith” man and family always comes first.