Meet Lydia, a Family Support Worker at NIȽ TU,O 

Read the interview below to learn about Lydia and the work she’s doing with NIȽ TU,O.

Transcipt of Lydia’s Interview

Interviewer: Can you tell me a bit about who you are and where you’re from?






TUWOSELTENOT ŦE NE TÁN Ć,SE LÁ,E EṮ Cold water reserve, Merritt BC 

Greetings and good day my respected friends

My ancestral given name is TUWOSELTENOT which I share with my mom, my English given name is Lydia

I am from W̱JOȽELȽP

My late dad’s ancestral name is TUWOSEL and his English given name is late Bernard Smith.

My mom’s ancestral name is TUWOSTELNOT and her English name is Carol Smith and she is from Coldwater reserve in Merritt BC.

I am a mom of four and I have three dogs at home. I’m married. I like to take pride in the work that I do. I’ve always advocated for Indigenous families. I’ve worked for the school district doing programming. I’ve worked in the addictions & mental health area for my own nation for about three years. I take pride in both of my cultural backgrounds. My strong belief is that whatever anybody is looking for, it could be in any cultural identity that I want to help them get that support. 

Interviewer: Can you share some of the background and experience you bring to your position at NIȽ TU,O?

When I first started with NIȽ TU,O, I was a family support worker and I did one-on-one. I did a lot of that kind of work when I was working with Tsartlip. I wore numerous hats at Tsartlip. I was the one-on-one support worker. I was also the program facilitator and event coordinator. Working with the school district, I always advocated for the students, families, and teachers too, if they needed support in learning about cultural identity.

I’ve worked for the Ministry at the Provincial office with the Elders Advisory Council. A lot of the programs or work that I have done has always been advocated and geared towards Indigenous families and communities.

Interviewer: What is your job title and what kind of work do you do for the organization?

My job title is Family Support Worker in Programs. I do culture nights. They took place once a month but starting in February, they’re going to be twice a month. The first session of culture night that I ever hosted was supposed to be where people share stories, songs and drums, anything that they wanted, but then it geared towards me facilitating it. So I’ve been just doing whatever community members want to do. They all come from the seven different nations or children that are in foster care that attend the cultural nights. 

I’m also working on facilitating the 2BBoys program, Girl Power program, and FemPower. Those three programs are geared toward the empowerment of young women, young moms, young ladies and young boys. 

I also support Michelle Anderson when I can because she does programs as well. I really support Vanessa Boylan. Wherever needed, we work together on programs and share ideas and bring them forward. We’re trying to do lots of outreach to the Seven Nations that we serve to deliver programs. I do a lot of the cultural pieces of the work that are within the nations here, such as the Coast Salish teachings.

Interviewer: What kind of impact do you hope to have during your time at NIȽ TU,O?

Michelle Anderson just celebrated her 19th year here at NIȽ TU,O and my daughter was one of the first ones that did the Best Babies Program with her. My daughter’s now 19 and a half, so it’s quite amazing to see how NIȽ TU,O has grown. 

I’ve always advocated for NIȽ TU,O. There were times when I had family support workers support my kids, or I’ve attended the workshops here or attended the programs here at NIȽ TU,O. So I’ve always been inspired by and working for the communities because that’s always been what I wanted to do, advocating and working for our communities.

Interviewer: What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Well, I have lots of projects on the go. I have a cedar hat that I need to complete. I have looms, I have sewing. I like to be with family. Lots of family time. I like to go on hikes, a little bit. I like to do drumming, attend winter cultural activities if I can, and really just spend time with family.

Interviewer: Is there anything else you’d like to say or let people know?

Thank you for attending the workshops that have been happening and keep continuing to come on by.