Awi’nakola: We are One with the Land and Sea




Child, Sara

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Over the last four decades, I have witnessed and been involved in a cultural resurgence led by families, artists, scholars, educators, individuals and extended families from our Kwakwaka̱ ’waḵw communities. These individuals have dedicated their lives to challenging the system, searching for knowledge and agency to resist assimilation and repair the cultural genocide caused by colonization. These warriors dedicated their lives to researching and revitalizing our ways of being and language. Steadfast in their pursuit, they are spurred on by what they know in their hearts to be true: Our distinct language feeds our view of the world and our way of being, it is interwoven with culture, is vital to our personal and collective wellness and is integral to who we are as Kwakwaka̱ ’wakw. The Kwakwaka̱ ’wakw leadership concepts of: 1 Maya’xa̱ la x̱ us Ba̱ k̕wine̱ , Mu̱ ’lano’x̱ w, Awi’nakola, Maya’x̱ alap’a, and O’ma̱ n’s ‘Na̱ m’a will be explored through a youth leadership camp. The camp will set the stage for restoring the values, beliefs, traditions and practices, encoded in Kwak’wala, that held us together in wellness through respectful, responsible, and reciprocal relationships. The camp will include an exploration of the United Nations Declaration of Rights for Indigenous People (UNDRIP). This locally designed and delivered Kwakwaka̱ ’wakw leadership camp, coupled with an exploration of the UNDRIP, is intended to create a pathway to resilience, perseverance and wellness for youth and is grounded in my belief, that an exploration of leadership, through the lens of language, is necessary to unearth and restore the worldview encoded in Kwak’wala. I believe the experience will ignite the fire within youth to learn and protect our language, stand up for our Indigenous human rights, and embrace their important roles as our future leaders. G̱ ilakas’la la’aḵus a’ekaḵila gax̱ ano'x̱ w; thank you for taking care of us on the journey that has brought us to this place.



Indigenous, language revitalization, cultural resurgence, Kwakwaka̱ ’waḵw, Awi’nakola, reconciliation, traditional cleanse, digita, researching, revitalizing