Amanda Adams was surprised to find out that she was in the running to become one of Lytton First Nation’s newest councillors in the upcoming election.
“This was a surprise, I was nominated by my community,” said Adams.
“I have accepted this learning opportunity and am grateful that our community believes in me.”
Adams was born and raised in Lytton, a community that she holds near and dear in her heart, but now resides in the Nicola Valley, where her maternal grandfather was originally from.
“I’m currently residing in one of five of our Nicola Valley communities at Shackan Indian Band,” said Adams.
“I’ve been in the Nicola Valley since 2013.”
Pursuing her education brought Adams the 100 km from the community of Lytton, which is home to just under 2,000 people in the village, surrounding area and local reserves, to Merritt.
“I graduated from NVIT in 2014 with my Environmental Resources Technology (ERT) Certificate and Diploma,” explained Adams, who soon realized that she was drawn to work with youth.
“In September of 2020, I started with our local School District No. 58 Nicola-Similkameen as a First Nations Support Worker for Nicola Canford Elementary School and Merritt Secondary School. This is my happy place. Learning, growing and sharing our cultural teachings of Nlaka’pamux with our youth. I learn from our youth, by listening and advocating for them.”
If elected, Adams believes that being a councillor will allow her to provide for her community, but also to continue her own journey of personal growth.
“My hopes are to continue to learn, grow and share our cultural knowledge to keep it thriving,” said Adams.
“My priorities will be the well-being of our community and our Nation - Nlaka’pamux. My hopes are to create unity and transparency where needed.”
Of equal importance to Adams is ensuring that all members of the Lytton First Nation and Nlaka’pamux community are equally represented.
“I would ensure that off-reserve band members have the same amount of services and support for them as on reserve members have.”
Adams, who formerly operated a cultural giftshop in Merritt alongside partner Jordan Joe, Nlaka’pamux Creations, understands how to blend modern living with traditional teachings, and how to remain grounded when confronted with the day-to-day issues which face young adults and indigenous people.
Spending time with her family, as well as harvesting traditional medicines and engaging in Nlaka’pamux practices of healing and living, are strengths Adams credits with her successes so far.
“Healing and growing is a part of living; you cannot truly live without shedding the unwanted,” Adams explained.
“We all have feelings that no longer serve us. By going to our water, praying and washing off, I’m healing. I recognize that I’m hurting, and I chose to surrender to our traditional medicines and smudging. I wash off, smudge, pray and am blessed to be alive. I endured and overcame a lot of trauma, not the healthy way either. I used to turn to alcohol to mask and numb my pain. Now I’m stronger and I love.”
Adams really delved into the practice of traditional medicines once she had made the move to Merritt, which offers many opportunities with its many lakes, creeks, rivers and pristine natural grasslands.
“I started harvesting sage and other traditional medicines for smudging, making medicine bags for friends and family. Now I’m harvesting cottonwood buds and we make a salve for those that are in need of it. I like to learn as much as I can, to share with our youth, friends, family and anyone willing to learn.”
Voting in the Lytton First Nations Band election will take place from 9am to 8pm on Wed. April 21 at the Lytton Memorial Hall.
“We all have different perspectives and uniqueness which are valuable,” said Adams.
“I will lead with my heart and mind. I will continue to learn, grow and become the person I’m meant to be. Our father has dedicated decades to our community, I hope I have the opportunity to be the leader our community deserves.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald