‘I ‘u ch ‘uw ‘yu ‘al, my name is Charles Nelson. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share a bit of who I am and where I am from.
My traditional name is Lhlalyam and I am from the Nuxalk Nation, Bella Coola, BC. I was raised by my mother, Jessie Nelson, and my grandparents, Dan Sr. & Katie Nelson. I live in Snaw Naw As, Nanoose, with my immediate family. Natasha Bob, granddaughter of the late Wilson Bob, is my partner and we have a blended family of 5 children.
Prior to moving to Snuneymuxw, I was the Health & Wellness Director for Nuxalk Nation. Nuxalk Nation has a population of approximately 2000 with about 1000 of those members living on reserve. The services provided by the Nuxalk Health & Wellness centre include Health Programs, Wellness Programs, Early Childhood Development Programs and Justice Programs. The programs and services at Nuxalk Nation are similar to what Snuneymuxw receives.
While working in Bella Coola, I became involved with the First Nations Interim Health Governance Committee which eventually transitioned into the role of the First Nations Health Council. At this committee, I had a chance to become involved in the beginning stages of change for the First Nations Health Council. The role of becoming a provincial body for First Nation peoples’ health was both exciting and challenging. It is good to see the First Nations Health Authority now in place.
Some of the interesting things I’ve learned of the community so far are; the importance of the big house & the shaker church, the importance of culture and family, many people go by nicknames (Shwank, Butch, Nutso, Babs, Puck to name a few), canoe racing & lacrosse are important sports here and everyone I have met so far has a keen interest in seeing the best for Snuneymuxw.
My interest for Snuneymuxw is to be helpful where I can with regards to Health, Wellness, Justice & Social issues and how this would fit into the goals of the community. One of my immediate objectives is to go out and meet elders in the community, to hear what the pressing issues are and share some of the present goals of the office. These visits also help me to learn more about the history of the community; like how Snuneymuxw was in the past and how Snuneymuxw arrived to where we are today. In writing this, I’ve met with 16 elders so far and will work at meeting if not all at least most of the elders in the community.
I’m also interested in meeting with community members who enjoy talking and sharing. So, if you see me in the community, please don’t be shy to say hello and chat awhile.