Gong spent his early years in Canada with his paternal grandparents, but he and his father moved to the Nooksack reservation near Bellingham when he was 10 years old. “The way I looked didn’t match my last name,” Gong says. “My last name didn’t match the way I was living in a tribal community. Which is why the tens of tourists who visit Seattle tend to carry home mementos — T-shirts, mugs, fine art — adorned with Native American designs or logos. Gong’s childhood was complicated by the fact that he didn’t live with his mother, who had a mental illness. Louie Gong didn’t set out to be either a businessman or an artist.