Amelia V. Washington is a nlekpmx woman, born to late Minnie and Matthew Washington. She is a mother to five adult children, and a grandmother to six grandchildren. Her nlekepmx traditional name is spe’?eci’, which translates to “Little Bear.” She says,
“OUR LAND AND WATER ARE SACRED”
Amelia is a traditional nlekepmx Woman and a Knowledge Keeper, who speaks her nlekepmxcin (Thompson language) and knows the cultural practices of the nlekepmx people. She is a well-known Elder who is highly recognized as a strong advocate for the protection of the sacred land and water.
As an Elder, she has contributed to changes relating to the Cultural framework practices of Child Welfare and the Aboriginal Justice system for the Nicola Valley.
Amelia’s traditional upbringing, and healthy lifestyle has contributed to her strong sense of cultural identity. Her life experience, as a survivor of Residential School and as a Child in Care, has given her the determination to be the safe person, to support and teach culture, language and ceremony to all youth, their caregivers and resources.
As an Elder of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, for over 16 years, she portrays the values of an Elder Ambassador, teacher of Good Medicine and Grandmother role to students and provides support to staff.
Her passion for the land and water was honoured by the International Women’s Day, for outstanding and positive commitment to the community of Merritt and the Nicola Valley. Including Receiving an Honorary degree from the Kutani Art Therapy Institute for contribution to language and cultural practices for colleges and community.
Amelia is an active Elder for numerous organizations. She served on the Nicola Valley Community Justice Society as a Court Elder, for the past 2 years. She mentored an apprentice language program for First Peoples’ Cultural Council, for 4 years. She recently accepted a position as Resident Elder for Scw’exmx Child and Family Services including Scw’exmx Community Health Services Society, Nlaka’pamux Health Services, Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Nooaitch Indian Band and local First Nations bands. She is a retired nlekepmxcin (Thompson Language) teacher of seven years, but remains active in the documentation and preservation of the nlekemxcin.
Amelia was the Elder Support for 7 trainees during the House of the Moon's first Pilot training program. She opened and closed every gathering with Traditional prayer and song.
She offered support to the women as needed when difficult topics were discussed in the training.
She taught "Traditional Self Care and Healing Practices" and is a part of our Core Faculty for HOTM. After Facilitating 4 HOTM gatherings she will also become a Founding Facilitator for HOTM.
Amelia is Elder’s representative for the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. Her knowledge of historic impacts, and involvement in the changes for all youth, Elders and community are an invaluable asset.