Xway’Waat (Deanna Daniels)

For 10 years, Xway’Waat was the BC Language Programs Coordinator for First Peoples’ Heritage Language and Culture Council (currently First Peoples’ Cultural Council), supporting 40+ languages and 70+ dialects with language revitalization support, guidance and funding. As the coordinator and language champion, she was an advocate for all language revitalization endeavours, supporting the vision to save BC languages and was also involved in the preparation of the 2010 Status of BC First Nations Languages Report. She was the First Peoples’ representative (2001-2010) on the Steering Committee of the SSHRC-funded Coast Salish Language Revitalization CURA grant, whose focus was language revitalization in Vancouver Island Salish communities. For the last few years of the project she was the Chair of the Steering Committee, playing a role in guiding the Steering Committee’s decision making, interacting with the University of Victoria (the academic partner in the project), shaping the governance of the project and its vision, and coauthoring the final report on the project.  She is currently a student in the University of Victoria’s Master’s program in Indigenous Language Revitalization.

Her goal is to speak fluently her parents’ Hul’q’umi’num’ language. She strongly believes in the importance of knowing oneself through culture and family history, which rewards pride and self-respect. Xway’Waat is Coast Salish. Her marriage unites her with the Kwakwaka’wakw of the Namgis First Nation. She has two children and two grandchildren.