Nuwaqawa (Evelyn Windsor) is a high-ranking woman from Oweekeno. She was taken away to residential school at the young age of 5 to age 12. She married Marshall Windsor of the Hailhzaqv Nation (Bella Bella); together they were blessed with 5 children, 8 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.
Evelyn survived 7 years of residential school and as a young mother had to leave all 5 of her children home while she was hospitilized with tuberculosis for 5 1/2 years.
Evelyn has worked for the Bella Bella Community School for 34 years assisting in the revitalization and revival of Hailhzaqvla (speaking Hailhzaqv).
Through her many works and affiliation with the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, she has helped to produce a Hailhzaqv dictionary, volumes 1 & 2, a root and suffix book, and curriculum and audio and visual aides. Over time, language switched from an oral to a written system, which she mastered; she also teaches the written format.
Affiliated with SFU, Evelyn also played an integral role in five second language learners obtaining their Language Proficency Certificates, which qualifies them to teach Hailhzaqvla; two more trainees are near completion.
Evelyn attributes her success to the fact that she loved to read; her determination started at a very young age.
Today, Evelyn continues to work for the Bella Bella Community School as a resource person. Her wealth of cultural knowledge and history and expertise in the Wakashan Language family, wisdom and linguistics are an asset to the community as a whole.
At the age of 82, Evelyn’s work ethic epitomizes what commitment, dedication and hardwork truly are. She arrives at school every day a 1/2 hour early, working diligently all day long. When she isn't busy she asks: "what can I do?" or, "is there anything you need me to do?" And there are days that we literally have to send her home when she is sick. Evelyn’s perseverance has planted seeds in the generations who follow and it is our belief that our language will survive.
It is my honour and privilege to nominate: Nuwaqawa as a "Language Champion" for 2011.
Nominator: Frances D. Brown