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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Commercial fisheries off-loading business booming in Port Hardy

Off-loading facilities pack, ice, and load in totes the fish that are caught by commercial fishermen

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read