about us

Nawalakw is a well-rounded social venture
in the Kwakwaka̱’wa̱kw Territory of the
Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.

Envisioned as a dual-purpose, world-class eco-tourism lodge on the Hada River estuary during the summer, the project will deliver traditional healing programs and teachings in all aspects of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw  language and culture for the balance of the year, largely sustained by profits from the Nawalakw Lodge and Healing Village to fund programming.

This multi-phase project will create presence and environmental stewardship in our traditional territory and create pride in our people.

Nawalakw and related businesses will employ over 100 people from local villages and the surrounding Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw territory, while protecting the biodiversity of this sacred place, and ensuring its legacy lives on in our children and children yet unborn.

nawalakw culture camp

Following initial fundraising and tremendous momentum since the project’s inception in 2019, construction for Phase One of the project is underway. We will host our first school groups in early 2021. Nawalakw Culture Camp can house up to 24 students, their teachers, and up to 12 support staff, and will focus on year-round cultural programming and language revitalization.

Healing Village and Sustainable Destination Development

Our purpose is to be a force for good, to create a thriving community and protect the lands of our ancestors for generations to come. In this spirit, our programs will provide healing and wellness for our people and our lands in a sustainable way.

The second development phase will expand the site to include a main lodge, individual cabins, wellness centre, outdoor facilities, an interpretive centre and a healing village. These facilities will be designed to provide early immersion language, training and certification programs, and healing programs in partnership with BC First Nations Health Authority.

To support ongoing and expanded language and healing programming, we will welcome and connect visitors to this supernatural territory by sharing our stories, our challenges, our efforts – and of course – our culture. To us the most important part of this journey is an immersive experience, by keeping things simple, authentic and enriching. Our supernatural lands create space for day-to-day concerns to fade into the background, bring perspective, and shift our values.

nawalakw interpretive centre

An interpretive centre, retail space and gallery showcasing local artists, and housing for those doing land stewardship programs at Nawalakw are part of our long-term plans.

vision, mission and values

Our communities have experienced waves of generational trauma that have left lasting impacts. We believe now is the time for reconciliation and healing, to reconnect to our language and land.

To create a social venture that is a catalyst for healing, connection, and sustainable Indigenous enterprise.

Gratitude
Unity
Culture
Accountability

To reconnect our people to our origins, our culture, our land, and to create and support Indigenous businesses to sustain and instill pride in our nations.

now is the time

For a cultural and economic revival of the surrounding communities.

To reinvigorate the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw language and culture.

To become the first place on earth where kwak̓wala, a language on the brink of extinction, will once again be spoken fluently by youth and elders alike.

To create Indigenous-led businesses as a force for good in our community.

To balance purpose and profits.

To create a model that can and will be replicated by other Indigenous communities anywhere else in the world.

our team

K’odi Nelson, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Hereditary chief, adventure guide, and language and culture teacher, K’odi is the Nawalakw founder and visionary. Hailing from Alert Bay, BC, K’odi is an internationally renowned cultural steward of the Kwakwaka̱’wa̱kw. A sought-after dancer and song-keep who has mastered all the great dances of the Kwakwaka̱’wa̱kw, he is an accomplished artist and often designs traditional regalia for Potlatches and commissions.

Prior to founding Nawalakw, K’odi was lead tour guide for Sea Wolf adventures, an indigenous-owned adventure tour operator and also the Kwakwakwa’wakw cultural leader and language teacher at the Gwa’sa̱la Nak̓waxda’x̱w school.

K’odi is a former pro-soccer player, playing in the Canadian Soccer League for the Winnipeg Fury in 1993.

“The first Nations people have endured successive waves of traumatic disruption that have threatened our very existence. My hope and dream is that Nawalakw will serve as a catalyst for social change and become the first place on earth where the kwak̓wala language is again spoken immersively.”

Tamara Alfred, TRAINING EMPLOYMENT MANAGER

Nugwa’am Nax’Na’gam. My name is Rising of the Dawn. My colonial name is Tamara Alfred. I am the great great granddaughter of late Chief Johnny Scow, Great Granddaughter of Hereditary Chief Willam D. Scow – Umbu, and Granddaughter of late Hereditary Chief Vincent Henry Scow, and mother of young Hereditary Chief Anthony Alfred of the Kwikwasutainukw people. I am a Nelson and Johnson on my Grandmother Caroline Scow’s side. Her mother was Annie Nelson (nee Johnson – great cedar bark weaver), and her father Roy Nelson. I am a proud and strong Musgamagw woman. 

I am the mother of two beautiful children. My Son, Anthony Alfred Jr. is 15 years old and loves school and music. My Daughter is 13 years old, loves boxing and is very outgoing. My husband is Tony Alfred. He’s my best friend, and the love of my life. We’ve been together for 20 years, it’s been a beautiful journey with him by my side. We have a wolf/husky and her name is Ginger, she’s getting up there in age now, but so loving. Also, we have a black cat – Church (He’s a funny little guy).

In my younger years, I was brought up in our traditional and cultural ways. I am a traditional singer and a dancer. When I sing, I feel power. When I dance, I feel light – like I’m floating, and there is good energy around me. I was taught to see the good in people and things, and I have done my best to do so.

I have worked with youth in various roles for the majority of my career.  

I sit on the board of directors for the Indigenous Justice of BC, and the Restorative Justice of BC. Our people, especially our youth, need support in many areas. Bringing back our traditional ways of healing, our ways of supporting one another, making connections with our own – and most importantly, transferring knowledge from our knowledge keepers –  these are all so important.

The time is now to be proud of our ancestral heritage and to learn the ways of our ancestors. Taking the first step with the support of our loved ones will get us all there.

Michelle Alfred, FINANCIAL & ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISOR

Michelle Alfred, Nawalakw Office Manager, comes to us with 30+ years of experience. Starting her career after graduating from  BCIT in Business Management. She has held  management positions with Alert Bays local Credit Unions and later at Namgis First Nation, in the Accounting Department. Her style of management through leadership skills and understanding of accounting creates a calming, supportive and steady pace in the office. Michelle enjoys being part of a family team environment that is committed to reconnecting people to traditional teachings and feeling good about who you are – this is what ultimately lead to her to work for Nawalakw.  

Rachael Hamilton, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Bio coming soon!

Hilary Matilpi, JUNIOR ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

 

Bio coming soon!

Duncan Kennedy, BUSINESS MANAGER

Duncan Kennedy is the Managing Director of Indigenext, an Indigenous business incubator based in Vancouver. Indigenext is founded on the principle of “Reconciliation through Innovation”. With Capilano University, Indigenext has created BC’s first Indigenous Accelerator, which will launch in 2020. Before he was liberated from the technology industry, Kennedy founded or served as a senior executive at ten tech companies (three of which were sold) and worked at Apple and Sony for more than a decade. At Apple, he managed the QuickTime product line, the foundation of modern digital video, and initiated QuickTime for Windows, which shipped more than 1 billion units. At Sony he launched the world’s first 4k Video Service. Kennedy is from Prince George and is of Metis, Scottish, and English descent. He graduated from the University of British Columbia.

Markus Griesser, BUSINESS PLANNER

Having lived and worked in British Columbia for close to 28 years, Markus created and implemented strategic business plans for boutique hotels and resorts and was involved in the development of new properties, hotel expansions and business turn-arounds. Markus re-positioned and expanded a family-run enterprise to establish it as an award-winning five-star resort and RevPAR leader; the business was the recipient of the “Best Resort in North America” award by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine’s Gold List and “Best Hotel in North America” award by Travel & Leisure Magazine. He conceptualized and opened a waterfront boutique hotel on Vancouver Island, including meeting, spa & fitness, food & beverage facilities, an art gallery and marine discovery centre. Previous consulting work includes a business turn-around plan to transform a fishing property into a leading eco-tourism lodge in Belize. Most recently, Markus opened and managed a $250 million, 600,000 square foot open-air regional shopping centre over a six-year period, recognized by the International Council of Shopping Centres with the Maple Leaf Gold and Silver awards. Markus served as Vice Chair of Tourism Victoria for four years (chairing the Finance Committee), Strata Chair of a mixed-use development, as well as founding board member of the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre (chairing the Marketing Committee).Industry association memberships include International Council of Shopping Centres, Building Owners and Managers Association, BC Shopping Center Association, Urban Land Institute BC.

Scott Rogers, ADVANCEMENT ASSOCIATE

Scott believes in building community through co-operation and supporting healthy ecosystems through collaboration. She is passionate about connecting people to opportunities on the land and sea of the south central coast and about working with the communities in place. She has nineteen years of conservation stewardship program experience, ten years of managing community based non- profits, and fifteen years of board governance experience for various charities. She is a founder of Sea to Cedar and Salmon Coast Field Station, and current board member, and has a BSc in ecology and environmental studies.

Kelsey Nelson, CAMP OPERATIONS MANAGER

 

BIO COMING SOON!

Teddy Scheck, CAMP FLEX

 

Bio Coming Soon!

Glen Johnson, CAMP MAINTENANCE/CARETAKER

Hello and G̱ilakas’la

I  am Glen Johnson, my bak̓wa̱m name is Tłiłalg̱umlilas. My granparents were Sarah (Nelson) and Bill Johnson.

I hail from Musgamagw Dzawada`enuwx and Kwikwasut`inux Haxwa`mis First Nation.

I am very excited to be working as the camp maintenance/caretaker, the variety of work at Nawalakw allows me to utilize my varried work experiences.

Going forward up I am really looking forward to learning and being immersed in my culture.

I believe every day is an opportunity to learn, grow and teach.

Dale Peterson, CAMP COOK

 

BIO COMING SOON!

Felicia Greekas, COMMUNICATIONS/BRANDING

BIO COMING SOON!

Dorienne Prevost, DIGITAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

 

BIO COMING SOON

Christine Marks, COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE

A veteran of international corporate communications and marketing, Christine started her career in marketing, taking on successive roles with increasing responsibility, eventually leading marketing for the global software division at Vancouver high-tech success story Creo, which was acquired by Kodak in 2004. She joined a boutique communications agency in 2005 as Director of Client Services and senior account strategist for Finning, Goldcorp, Silver Wheaton, Westminster Savings Credit Union, HSBC, and Justice Institute BC, amongst others.

In 2008, she joined the natural resources industry in an investor relations capacity and ultimately led communications and external affairs at Vancouver’s Goldcorp Inc., one of the world’s top gold mining companies. In addition to communications, she oversaw Goldcorp’s extensive corporate community philanthropy portfolio that granted over $50 million to programs supporting health, education, inclusion, community development and arts and culture. Goldcorp was acquired by US-based Newmont in 2019.

Christine is an avid community volunteer. She currently serves as vice-chair on the board of Minerva Foundation and supports the Mining for Miracles Committee that has raised nearly $30 million for BC Children’s Hospital over the years. She also devotes time to Special Olympics BC, Dress for Success Vancouver and various programs that seek to advance women in business.

Christine has a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University and has completed executive education at Columbia University.

Verna Ambers, FOOD SECURITY MANAGER

 

Bio coming soon!

Bill Wasden Sr., GRANT WRITER

Hello, I have been hired as a proposal writer for the Nawalakw Healing Society as of July 1, 2020

I am a member of the gig̱a̱lgam namima of the ‘Na̱mg̱is First Nation and my traditional name is Sebekola. My background is quite extensive in First Nations Government serving as Executive Director of the Musgamakw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council for 12 years as well as Band Manager for the Da̱’naxda’x̱w First nation for 10 years.

I graduated from Alert Bay Elementary Senior Secondary High School many years ago and from there I went on to be a logger, fisherman, construction worker, carpenter, shipwright and truck driver then returned to school at the University of Victoria to get my Certificate in Administration of Aboriginal Governments.

My main interest of recreation lies with my coaching/elder position with the Native Indian Football Association and our very successful touring of the world for the love of the “beautiful game” resulting in two World Indigenous Games gold medals and the title of “Indigenous World Champions”.

Melissa Marsh, GRANT WRITER

BIO COMING SOON!

Deanna Nicolson, LANGUAGE PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Ikawegi’lakw (Deanna Nicolson, nee Barnes) is our Language Program Director at Nawalakw.  Her paternal roots are from Scotland, Fort Rupert and Alert Bay (Barnes, Hunt and Cook families) and her maternal roots are from Village Island, Alert Bay and Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw territories (Beans, Alfred, Dawson and Coon families).  She was born in Vancouver and grew up in Alert Bay, moving away to pursue post-secondary education in Victoria, BC.  She earned business degrees and a master’s degree of education with a specialization in Indigenous language revitalization from the University of Victoria.  Ikawegi’lakw has worked professionally in the fields of business, education and language revitalization, serving numerous member-bands, Indigenous schools and organizations, creating curriculum resources and coordinating language classes.  She lives with her husband Gwi’molas and four sons: Ha’malagalis, Tsaxw’id, ‘Malas and K’esugwi’lakw and has a very happy heart to be here at Nawalakw.

Gilakas’la

ikawegi’lakw (Maker of Good Things)

Pewi Alfred, LANGUAGE PROGRAM MANAGER

DOROTHY “PEWI” ALFRED is 45 years old from the ʼNa̱mg̱is First Nation from Nimpkish Valley and Alert Bay. Her traditional name is Ḵaminawadzi “Great Throwing Power”. She is renowned for her singing and dancing abilities amongst the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw. She has been bestowed with many names, dances and songs on various sides of her noble ancestry. Her father Wayne Alfred and brother Marcus Alfred are master carvers and renowned traditional dancers, from the ʼNa̱mg̱is tribe. Her mother is Brenda nee Smith from the noble Smith and Speck families of Ławit̕sis First Nation- Turnour Island. Pewi has been initiated into one of the highest dance orders called Hiligax̱ʼste’, the female attendant of the most sacred Hamat̕sa Society.

Pewi is one of the driving forces at teaching and passing down of dances, songs, and kwak̓wala language to the next generations at the village of Alert Bay. She is also an accomplished artist and the
proud Mother of her 19 year old son Michael Johnathan Wayne Moon
Jr.

G̱ilakasda’x̱w’la

Gloria Hunt, LANGUAGE SUPERVISOR

Yo! Nugwa’a̱m K̓wak̓wabalas. Gayutła̱n lax̱a Kwagu’ł dłu’ ławit̓sis is dłu’ Ma’a̱mtagila. Gayutła̱n lax̱ ‘Ya̱lis. Ḵ̓aḵutł̓aṉ laxa̱ University of Vancouver Island lax Snuneymuxw.

Hello! My traditional name is K’wak’wabalas. I am from the Kwagu’l, ławit̓sis, and Ma’a̱mtagila tribes of the Kwakwaka̱’wa̱kw. I am from Alert Bay. I am going to learn at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. My English name is Gloria Hunt. I am one of the five Language Apprentices that are developing and delivering language curriculum as part of the Nawalakw Culture Project. I am currently in my fifth and final year of the Bachelor of Education program and will be graduating in June of 2021. I have been fortunate to grow up in Alert Bay where I was fully surrounded by our culture, language, and traditions in almost every aspect of my everyday life. I was a part of the T̓sasała Cultural Group which helped me in learning our songs, dances, and teachings around our ceremonies. I also attended T̓łisa̱lagi’lakw School from Nursery to Grade 7 where I was able to be even more fully surrounded by our culture, traditions, and language everyday and is where I really developed a passion for keeping these important aspects of who we are alive for future generations. I was a part of the Kwak̓wala Public Speaking Club while attending T̓łisa̱lagi’lakw School also where I was able to build on my knowledge of our language and learn how to become comfortable speaking it out loud in front of a group of people. I also picked up the love I have for weaving at a very young age while I was attending T̓łisa̱lagi’lakw School and I have continued to learn as much as I can, which now includes Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving which I began learning in 2016. Within the past 6 years, I have been able to continue passing on my knowledge of weaving to people of all ages, from 4 years old to 80 years old, during weaving workshops I have facilitated at Elementary Schools, Highschools, Universities, community events, and to my own family members while preparing for potlatches and feasts. I am excited to be continuing on my language learning journey and living and breathing my passion for language revitalization and keeping our culture and teachings alive with the Nawalakw Culture Project. Olak̓ala̱n mu’la! I am really grateful!
G̱ilakas’la!

Matt Ambers, LANGUAGE PROGRAM LEADER

G̱ilakas’la nugwa’a̱m gusdidzas he’ma̱n aba̱mpi hamdzas gayutła̱n lax̱a kwagu’ł dłu’ mama̱liliḵa̱la dłu’ ‘Na̱mg̱is dłu’ ławit̓sis dłu’ Ma’am̱tagila.
Hello, my traditional name is Gusdidzas, and my english name is Matthew Ambers, my mother is Hamdzas, and I am from 5 different tribes of the kwak̓wala speaking people, the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw. I have been well versed in my traditional culture all of my life, but have spent the last 5 years diving deeper into it. My main interests have been singing and storytelling. These things in Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture are typically the prerogative of much older people. But I have been very lucky to have been given the opportunity to participate in these aspects of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture. Now I am once again given another opportunity through the Nawalakw Healing Society to spend all my time focused on learning kwak̓wala. Our nation’s name means “kwak̓wala speaking peoples”, as such we have a responsibility to keep our language alive.
He’a̱m

Kiara Peterson, LANGUAGE PROGRAM LEADER

G̱ilakas’la, Nugwa’a̱m Kiara Peterson. Gayutła̱n lax̱a Kwagu’ł dłu’ ‘Na̱mg̱is. He’ma̱n umpi, Dale Peterson JR, he’ma̱n aba̱mpi, May Hunt. I’ax̱ala̱n lax̱a Nawalakw Healing Society. Ḵ̓aḵu̓ tł̓aṉ kwakw̓ ala.

Welcome, my name is Kiara Peterson. I am from Kwagu’l territory and ‘Na̱mg̱is territory. My father is Dale Peterson JR, my mother is May Hunt. I work for Nawalakw Healing Society. I am learning kwak̓wala. I also descend from Mama̱liliḵala, ḵwikwa̱sutinux̱, ‘Nak̓waxda’x̱w, tlingit and Ligwiłda’x̱w territories. My Indian name is Taayisim from my Mowachat side, Taayisim meaning “Believes with her whole heart, and holding up the creator”. My whole life has been surrounded by my culture and soccer. I moved to Victoria, BC to explore my life in soccer and I accomplished many things. In 2015 I felt I was missing my hometown and it was time for me to move home to be closer to all my grandparents. I have been back home in ‘Yalis for 5 years now and have found my belonging to our language. In February of 2020, I received the Youth Language Champion award! I had many opportunities on my journey like learning from the Language School Chief Atahm, I was granted into the Master apprenticeship program, and I was able to work alongside one of our most valued Language and Culture teachers, Pewi Alfred. I give many thank you’s to those who have helped me along the way. I feel I have found my true purpose in life and I’m grateful to learn and share my knowledge with our children. There is no greater way to be grounded than focusing within your heritage and culture. I have found my true being learning my history and language. I am very fortunate to be here today and learn my language full time. Throughout my journey in Language and teaching I have gained so much. The greatest value I cherish is spending time with our old people.
Wiga’xa̱n’s ‘wi’la yaḵ̓a ṉ ta̓ la saṉ ‘s yaḵ̓a ̱ndas.
Let us speak our language

G̱ilakas’la.

Danielle Dawson, LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

Yo ‘nu ̱gwa’ ̱am T’s ̱ana’ubido. He’m ̱an dłi ̱g ̱ami Danielle Dawson. Gayutł ̱an la ̱xa Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw dłu Kwagu’ł dłu G̱ usgimukw.

My traditional name is T’s ̱ana’ubido. My English name is Danielle Dawson. I am from the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Kwagu’ł, and Guskimo tribes of the Kwakw ̱ak ̱a’waḵw.

He’m ̱an hi’lu’s Gway ̱amdzi wałe (gramps) dłu T’siław ̱alaga/ewa wałe (gran).

My great grandparents are Jimmy and Ethel Dawson, they were fluent speakers of our language and I feel that I have a big responsibility being the eldest great granddaughter to learn our language.

I am very blessed that as a young girl I grew up in Gway’i (Kingcome Inlet) and Tsa ̱xis (Fort Rupert). I was surrounded by our culture and traditions such as singing, dancing, language and getting eulachons in Gway’i to help make ̓tłi’na. I attended Wagalus School in Tsa ̱xis up until grade five and during that time we had culture class every day and spent a lot of time singing, dancing, and learning our language. I moved to Tsa ̱xis with my grandparents and I am very proud to say I am Patricia Dawson Hunt’s granddaughter. I learned the importance of being humble and carrying a good heart. My nan raised me to always be respectful and mindful of others. Maya’x ̱ala dłu Dała ̱xa ik noḵe’.

Growing up in Kingcome enhanced a passion for soccer and it became a huge part of my life. I have traveled all over the world to play soccer. I played for the Canadian NIFA Women’s soccer team and we won gold in the First World Indigenous Games located in Brazil in the year 2015. We won gold again in Alberta in the Second World Indigenous Games year 2017.

I completed the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Program Spring of 2021. We did canoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, rock climbing, swift water rescuing, and  wilderness first aid. I started working with Nawalakw Healing Society as soon as I finished the program. I had the privilege of being a part of their Culture project as an Outdoor-Ed guide during the summer and fall with our youth and elders. I gained relationships and special bonds with our youth and elders that came out to the culture camps in Hada (Bond Sound). The work we are doing out there is absolutely amazing, and so rewarding. I strongly believe that connecting to the land is healing for our people. I enjoy participating with our youth, elders and staff in healing, learning and growing as a people. Since working in Hada as an Outdoor-Ed guide, a passion for learning our language, history, songs, and dances started growing more and more every day spent out there.

I am now a language apprentice for the Nawalakw Healing Society. My language and cultural goals are to become a part of helping our language and culture survive in all aspects. Whatever knowledge I gain, I will pass onto another.

Maya’x ̱al ̱an ̱x ̱an i’a ̱xale dłu’wida g ̱anganan ̱am dłu ḵ̕w ̱alsḵ̕w ̱al’yakw.

Olak̕al ̱an mu’la’!

I love working with children and elders and I am really grateful!

Darryl Dawson, LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

Gayaxalasame (Darryll Dawson) is a proud member of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of Kingcome Inlet. Growing up in Kingcome, Darryll was exposed to hearing his Native language spoken while living with and being around his grandparents Oy and Beverly Lagis. As a young boy Darryll took interest in his culture learning how to dance from his grandfather Thompson (Oy) Lagis at the age of 4.

Darryll’s interest in culture sparked a lifelong learning journey into exploring what it is to be a descendent and member of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw Nation. Gayaxalasame takes great pride in knowing and understanding songs, dances, and ceremonies, as well as learning the history of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw Nation. He is recognized as a singer and dancer, attending Potlatches and Feasts within the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations. Darryll is also a Native artist, learning from Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Victor Newman, when he was a student at Victoria High School.  In 2010, he continued his learning journey under the guidance of Kwakwaka’wakw artist and Hereditary Chief Rande Cook, followed by an apprenticeship with Master Carver John Livingston.

Throughout adulthood Darryll has taught what he has learned to the next generation and to anyone willing to learn. He started as a substitute cultural teacher at the Lilawagila school in Kingcome, eventually becoming a full-time teacher at the school where he taught classes in art, singing and dancing. He makes sure to pass on history lessons on the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw Nation to his students and anyone else who has an interest in learning.

Darryll was fortunate to learn from and be inspired by many knowledgeable cultural leaders, including Mike Willie and William Wasden, who taught him many traditional songs, legends and shared their vast cultural knowledge.   Several other great influences on Darryll include Kodi Nelson, Wayne Alfred and Marcus Alfred who shared singing, dancing and cultural knowledge with Gayaxalasame.  Darryll had many other connections to learning his history, from elders to knowledge keepers within the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation.

Growing up in Kingcome enhanced a passion for soccer and it became a huge part of my life. I have traveled all over the world to play soccer. I played for the Canadian NIFA Women’s soccer team and we won gold in the First World Indigenous Games located in Brazil in the year 2015. We won gold again in Alberta in the Second World Indigenous Games year 2017.

I completed the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Program Spring of 2021. We did canoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, rock climbing, swift water rescuing, and  wilderness first aid. I started working with Nawalakw Healing Society as soon as I finished the program. I had the privilege of being a part of their Culture project as an Outdoor-Ed guide during the summer and fall with our youth and elders. I gained relationships and special bonds with our youth and elders that came out to the culture camps in Hada (Bond Sound). The work we are doing out there is absolutely amazing, and so rewarding. I strongly believe that connecting to the land is healing for our people. I enjoy participating with our youth, elders and staff in healing, learning and growing as a people. Since working in Hada as an Outdoor-Ed guide, a passion for learning our language, history, songs, and dances started growing more and more every day spent out there.

I am now a language apprentice for the Nawalakw Healing Society. My language and cultural goals are to become a part of helping our language and culture survive in all aspects. Whatever knowledge I gain, I will pass onto another.

Maya’x ̱al ̱an ̱x ̱an i’a ̱xale dłu’wida g ̱anganan ̱am dłu ḵ̕w ̱alsḵ̕w ̱al’yakw.

Olak̕al ̱an mu’la’!

I love working with children and elders and I am really grateful!

Latisha Wadhams, LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

Gatu moved to Tsa ̱xis, The Old Smoke Of The World after she graduated in 2018. She was pursuing a Policing career in Vancouver, although it was a great experience she felt unfulfilled.

Gatu began her journey at Wa galus Elementary shortly after moving home as a Dance, Language and Culture Teacher Assistant. This is where a fire was ignited in her heart, learning from the elders + language speakers and teaching the gangananam simultaneously. She branched out from there joining different language teams throughout the Fort Rupert Community and continued as an Education assistant for the Western academic portion at Wagalus school -so her experience working with children is expansive. In February 2022 she joined the Nawalakw Team as a new Language Apprentice while continuing her journey at Wagalus.

She is driven and has found her place within the language and culture of our Kwakwak’wakw communities.

Trevor Isaac, LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

BIO COMING SOON!

Sydney Roberts, LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

Ma̱lidix̱tła̱n. Hemi̱n abampi Christine Roberts, gayutłax̱ Liqwida’x̱w. Hemi̱n oompi-wełay, Norman Sedgemore, gayutłax̱ Kwak’goł, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw dlu’wi Łlingit. Hemi̱n G̱ag̱asi Roberta, gayutłax̱ X̱ax̱amadzis dlu’wi WeiWaiKum. Hemi̱n G̱ag̱ampi Bill, gayutłax̱̕ Nakwadaxw. Hemi̱n G̱ag̱asi Maggie Sedgemore, Dee’ya, gayutła̱x Kwak’goł, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Kwikwasut’inuxw, dlu Łlingit. Hemi̱n G̱ag̱amp-wełay Scotty Sedgmore, gayutła̱x Scotland.

My name is Ma̱lidi, Sydney Roberts. My mother is Christine Roberts, from the Ligwida’xw. My dad is Norman Sedgemore from the Kwak’goł, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Łlingit. My Grandmother is Roberta Henderson from the Li̕qwi’dax̱w. My grandpa is Bill Henderson, from fhe ‘Nak̕wada’x̱w. My grandmother is Maggie Sedgemore, Deeya, from the Kwak’goł, Musgamagw Dzawada’enux̱w, Kwikwasut’inuxw and Łlingit. My grandfather is Scotty. My Grandfather is from Scotland.

My mom made culture and language a priority all my life. Kwakwaka’wakw ways of being, upheld in my family through culture, dance, language and traditional fishing and hunting, gave me a sense of identity, and above all, culture as my strength. I grew up on the traditional territories of the Ligwilda’x̱̕w, learning culture and language, traveling to ceremonies and Pasa̕ (potlatch). I grew up dancing; Kwakwaka’wakw traditional dance and ballet. Learning how to can fish and cook traditional meals. My family and our tribe imbued me with the importance of carrying on Kwakwaka’wakw ways of being–I saw the strength of our people when we come together. Studying Indigenous education and Kwak’wala at the University of British Columbia, as well as traditionally on our territories, has allowed me to learn deeply the topics of: Bak̕wa̱mgala, language revitalization techniques; Kwakwaka’wakw ways of learning; linguistics and Indigenous ways of teaching. Being granted the opportunity to share the culture and language I’ve learned so far with our gi̱ngi̱nana̱m (children) in order to breathe life into our language is a dlu’gwe (treasure) that will support youth to know Kwakwaka’wakw ways. This will in turn give each of the youth we teach a sense of identity, and cultural strength to carry on gwa’e’lay’la’sa̱ns (Kwakwaka’wakw ways).

As a descendant of Peter Scow, to learn and teach our gwa’e’lay’la’sa̱ns on the lands of our people, specifically in Hada, the traditional lands of the Kwikwasut’inuxw, where the Scows are from, gives me mu’las (gratitude), nawalakw (super natural healing) and łax̱wi (inner strength). The Scow crest includes the bear from which I draw patience, to stoke the fire of our language, courage, to uphold our culture, and devotion, to teach our youth. ‘Ikanoma, we will all come to benefit from the efforts put forth to carry on our gwa’e’lay’la’sa̱ns.

Ola’gala̱n mu’las noke’yi
(Im grateful in my heart)
Hiłikya ahous gax̱e Ḵ̕aḵ̕utlax Kwak’wala
(It’s really good we all come together to learn Kwak’wala)
G̱ilakas’la Ma̱lidi
(Thank you Sydney)

Petr Javier Jr., LANGUAGE APPRENTICE

Petrxtła̱n gayutła̱n lax̱ ‘ya̱lis. Ola̱k̓ala ika̱n noḵe’ i’a̱x̱ala dłu’ Nawalakw Healing Society.

My name is Petr. I’m from Alert Bay. I’m very happy to be working with Nawalakw Healing Society.

Allen Souch, BOAT DRIVER

 

BIO COMING SOON

Keith Dawson, DECK HAND/CAMP ASSISTANT

 

BIO COMING SOON

commitment to sustainability

We believe in building a future that respects our connection to the land, air and sea, firmly rooted in our responsibility of stewardship, while building a robust and prosperous economy. We acknowledge and prioritize the role of our environment as a critical foundation for serving the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and economic needs of our people.

Nawalakw in the news

We love a good story.  Here are some of our own, and some good words others are sharing about the project too.

A New Victory Garden

EAT Magazine
Feb/March 2021 edition – Pages 24 & 25

youth employment partners

Nawalakw continues to support youth employment with the annual youth summer employment program.

Seasonal Youth Workers

From building garden boxes, to assisting with traditional food harvesting, language programs, and supporting the build of our Culture Camp, Nawalakw is grateful for the wonderful positive energy and skills our youth  provide while working as part of the Nawalakw youth employment program.  We are grateful to the following partners, who provided valuable work experience for nearly 60 members of our team in 2022.

  • Adrienne Dawson
  • Allen Williams
  • Dallas Nelson
  • Danielle Dawson
  • Danya-Lee Harris
  • Devery Svanvik
  • Effrey Sedgemore
  • Giselle Alfred
  • Gwimolas Cramner
  • Hilary Matilpi
  • Jakob Dawson
  • Jonah Johnson
  • James Coon Charlie
  • Jessiah Macko
  • Karissa Glendale
  • Keith Dawson
  • Molina Dawson
  • Sekawnee Baker
  • Stephen Alfred

supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the visionary organizations and individuals who share our passion and support our mission.

how to partner with us

We are deeply grateful for the local and global partners we have met on this journey so far. We approach all we do with gratitude. If you can vividly imagine a way that we can work together, and share in this spirit of gratitude, then it can happen. The connections we have made are not accidental. Reach out and let us know if you have an idea – we also enjoy specific proposals!

Connect with us at info@nawalakw.com