Rico explained that the Tlingit people make up a society divided in two halves, represented by the eagle and the raven. His mother’s side is represented by the raven. Within each side you have clans, and Rico’s is represented by the sockeye. That’s why you’ll often see the raven and sockeye incorporated in his regalia because he and his art share those stories. Though he loves both creatures, his favorite is the raven.
“They are very playful, and they’ll play jokes on you. The raven is a trickster character. They’ll tease your dogs and get really creative. I’ve always tried to emulate that creativity and play in my career.”
It’s that playfulness and creativity that inspired him to establish his own company – appropriately named the Trickster Company – after the raven. You’ll also find the spirit of both the raven and sockeye in some of the artwork introduced on board.
Being raised in both the Tlingit and Athabascan tribes – and learning about the arts and culture of each one – have uplifted Rico and given him strength throughout the years. It has helped him express the beauty of the culture through his own artwork, which he hopes empowers the next generation.
“I feel like my role is to be a good ancestor for the next generation. To continue to uphold the legacy of the art but also make its place in the modern world. I’m hoping people see these designs and want to know more. There’s a rich history to our art, and there’s a rich culture behind where they come from. I’m hoping it’s a little gateway for passengers to get interested in Alaska Native art.”