THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Latisha Wadhams is looking to advocate for Indigenous youth.

‘Namgis princess advocating for Indigenous youth

Latisha Wadhams believes connecting with Indigenous youth will empower them.

One ‘Namgis First Nation princess wants to advocate for social issues affecting Indigenous people.

Latisha Wadhams, who has roots from Tlowitsis, Ma’amtagila, ‘Nakwaxda’xw, ‘Namgis, and Kwakiutl First Nations, said she also wants to raise awareness on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). In fact, last year the Wadhams’ family had composed a song to honour a family member who was lost to violence.

In Kwakwaka’wakw culture, she was born into what is considered a royal family.

She returned to her home in Port Hardy because of a career opportunity at Kwakiutl First Nation. If hired, she will meet regularly with Kwakiutl membership to talk on issues relating to lands and resources. She hopes the opportunity will bring a sense of “empowering Kwakiutl sovereignty.”

Her primary focus, however, is going out and connecting with other youth. “Just to connect with other youth is empowering. We’re slowly finding our way. I see it with the young ones when I work at the (Wagalus) school,” she added. “I think the biggest thing our generation is struggling with is suicide, alcohol and drugs. It’s scary. That’s one thing I want to bring to the table is empowering our youth.”

As for her interest in working at Kwakiutl, she pointed out “as Bak’wam (Indigenous) people, we should be in charge of our communities, taking care of each other. That was our way of living before. I really want to go back to those times where we looked after each other,” she noted.

“I want to Bak’wamize the system,” she said in an in-person interview.

She had started to learn her Kwakwaka’wakw heritage and culture as well as the Kwak’wala language as early as the age of 10. “When I turned 12 I went to the friendship centre in Vancouver. I had my first West Coast night. It was really interesting to see our Kwakwaka’wakw people there in an urban setting.”

“I felt like I belonged somewhere,” she added. “I just wanted to keep dancing. I think that’s how I started when it came to culture.” Around the age of 15 Wadhams also started to learn how to sing in the language.

Wadhams spent extensive time pulling at events typically known as canoe journeys. Recently she was involved in Pulling Together, which was an effort to bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement, and Pulling to Puyallup, which raised awareness on MMIWG.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Humans cause half the wildfires in Vancouver Island north

Open fire escape is the number one cause, followed by mechanical

No time frame to resume Route 5 bus service between Campbell River and Port Hardy

Passenger Transportation Board is still deliberating, leaving north Islanders stranded

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s 2020 graduation ceremony

The Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre had seven graduates this year.

Sea lice outbreak in juvenile salmon prompts First Nations leaders to call for fish farm closures

Wild salmon have higher rates of the parasites when ocean fish farms are near, research shows

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Victoria police investigating possible hate crime on BC Transit bus

A young Black man was randomly struck by a Caucasian man who he did not know

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read