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

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

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read