Listen Live

HomeNewsIsland & CoastFirst female hiwus (chief) for the shíshálh nation reflects on being elected

First female hiwus (chief) for the shíshálh nation reflects on being elected

The first woman to serve as a hiwus (chief) for the shíshálh nation says it’s an honor.

yalxwemult (Lenora Joe) is the first woman to ever serve as hiwus for the nation. She follows in her grandmother’s (of the same name) footsteps, who was elected as the first shíshálh nation councilor in 1947.

“My hope is that we can have very good commitment from our leadership to have effective communication with our community, consult with them, and have their input into our ongoing business that we have,” said yalxwemult. “There’s been a lack of communication or understanding of what our organization currently is working on. So I’m very excited to be able to share that information with our community.”

She says her being elected feels ‘very surreal.’ Currently, her priorities are elder care and housing.

“It’s always been our commitment to ensure that all of our elders are looked after, and have the programs and services that they need to live a long and healthy life. They’ve been through a lot, and we wanna make sure that whatever time they have left, it is enjoyable for them and that we are supporting that.”

- Advertisement -

In terms of housing, the nation has 150 people on a waiting list.

“It’s been a very difficult situation for us in that previously— probably about 10 or 15 years ago— we were trying to build anywhere from two to five houses a year to address that issue. Then I think in the last eight years it kind of stopped, and they wanted to revisit or re-look at how we were addressing the housing shortage,” said yalxwemult. “Then in the meantime they stopped building houses. So we’re trying to re-engage with that. I do understand that our previous leadership has been able to secure large portions of funding from the province to address some of the social housing, so that’s great. It is a big task and I am looking forward to working with the community on that.”

She was elected on February 18th.

The previous hiwus, Warren Paull, served the nation since 2017.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading