Joey Wesley is from Lax Kw’alaams, and now lives in Vancouver.
Urban Nation

Speaking Tsimshian in the city

Joey Wesley left northern B.C. for Vancouver, but his Indigenous language never left him.

“If you don’t know who you are or where you come from, it’s a scary place for a First Nation person,” Joey Wesley says.

Wesley is Tsimshian from Lax Kw’alaams in northern B.C. Although he has lived in Vancouver for the last 12 years, he knows who he is and where he’s from. And he still speaks his Indigenous language.

Growing up, he spent a lot of time with his grandparents in their home. “All throughout the ’80s there, all I basically heard was mostly my Sm’algyax language. There was minimal English most days,” he says.

Now he’s teaching his son and daughter to speak their language, too.

Watch his video:

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of the urban Indigenous community in the Lower Mainland. Sign up here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.