Abuxvtiasu, Kylie Gladstone, got her ancestral name from her maternal great grandmother. The name comes from an origin wolf story. It is the beginning of Kylie’s response to the question, “What do you most want us to know about you?” As her response continues, you hear the reverence for her Heiltsuk language and knowledge.
When Kylie was seven her father passed away. It was an enormous loss to her family, and they moved back to Bella Bella to be close to family. Her mother Monika then was the sole provider and she needed to complete her college program. During this time, Kylie had the blessing to go and live with her grandparents at Bella Bella for five years. In particular, Kylie became quite close with her grandmother Pauline. Pauline’s knowledge of Heiltsuk culture inspired Kylie’s own search for her identity as a Heiltsuk woman.
Kylie hopes to learn to speak her language. In high school, she created language materials and attended her uncle’s language classes. In the age of the pandemic, she is looking to language training programs that are on-line. Now that she is a mother-to-be, she is thinking about her baby and how she can pass on language to the next generation. She knows that according to ancestral knowledge, language learning begins before the baby is born. She has paused her teacher education for perhaps more important learning.
Right now, Kylie’s focus is on exploring her cultural identity, history, and language. She sees herself as a change agent and understands that change begins with yourself. She has experienced loss and taken a few wrong turns. Her hope is that as she grows into a knowledgeable person, grounded in her identity, she can inspire others in her age group. She is an example that it is always the right time to learn your language and discover the depths of who you are. There are people in your community waiting to help you on your journey.