Bringing Indigenous ways of knowing and being to the classroom, community and boardroom

Tanina Williams, a CapU student, is a finalist for Small Business BC - Business Impact Award

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Tag(s): Indigenous Students, News & Announcements

Tanina Williams at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler B.C.

My vision for the future is for more indigenous people to find a pathway to have a voice and for the world to learn from Indigenous people. – Tanina Williams

When the pandemic paused in-person teaching, Tanina Williams, Kukw`stumc`kacw, from the Lil’wat Nation in Mount Currie, B.C., founded her own Indigenous inter-cultural communications consulting company. Her company amawilc (meaning to come back to life in Ucwalmicwts, the language of the Lil’wat people) provides cultural communication services and training. Her focus is “building bridges to connect one another” and improving connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

amawilc was shortlisted as a finalist for the 2022 Small Business BC - Business Impact Award. The award recognizes business owners making a difference by embracing the challenge of entrepreneurship, taking positive steps to invest in the community and seeing social responsibility as an integral part of business success.

VIDEO: amawilc - Small Business BC Awards finalist

A long-time educator, Williams has worked as a Cultural Teacher with the Sea to Sky School District (SD48) for the last 10 years. As a knowledge keeper, she gives kids the skills and cultural knowledge to help them become the person they were mean to be.  

Education has complexities for Williams. Working in the education system means positive changes can be slow to happen; it also carries triggers that bring back memories from her past. As a child, she attended school in this district, but never completed her education.

Next month, she will walk across two stages: as a graduate of Capilano University with a Lil’wat Language and Culture Certificate on June 8, and with her high school diploma from Pemberton Secondary School on June 11.

Combining her work with SD48 and her consulting business allows Williams to work with students and adults to strengthen inter-cultural understanding in the region.

Recently, she was hired by the Pemberton Off Road Cycling Association to assist with writing a letter to the Lil’wat Nation to communicate the association’s commitment to being stewards of the land when cycling the trails and back country in the Pemberton Valley region. The experience was very moving for Williams.

“I feel so empowered,” said Williams. “The person I worked with is learning what is in her heart and how to speak to it in Indigenous ways to Indigenous people.”

It is meaningful, transformational work that leads a step closer to realizing her dream.

“My dream is that we get to share Indigenous knowledge and that people want to hear it.”


Submitted by: Communications