Tewanee Joseph

Mike Jackson | Evan Adams | Michelle Bryant | Candis Callison | Ian Campbell | Bernard Casavant | Stacey Edzerza | Lenny Fisher | Dave Griffin | Trevor A. Joe | Tewanee Joseph | Rose Lesner | Duncan McCue | Carey Newman | Cherie Joy Rochelle Peal | Jason Rock | Lisa Sam

Tewanee Joseph was born in North Vancouver of a unique ancestry – half Squamish Nation and half Maori from New Zealand.

Growing up on a Squamish reserve, Tewanee used his love of sports and natural athleticism to survive the rough-and-tumble challenges of reserve life. Playing lacrosse, soccer and basketball he earned the respect of many, including the local bullies, who quickly learned to leave him alone.

Later, as a teenager, Tewanee became captain of the North Shore Indians Lacrosse Club of the West Coast Senior Lacrosse League, where he still plays today.

“I have been fortunate enough to win four national championships in box and field lacrosse,” he says today. “I have also had the opportunity to represent Canada on a Junior National team in 1989 and the Iroquois Nations at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Both were experiences I will never forget.”

Lessons learned at the lacrosse rink and on the soccer field provided Tewanee with real-world insight into human behaviour. He learned that hard work, commitment and teamwork were precisely the same attributes needed for success in business and family life.

Tewanee entered tribal politics barely out of his teens. At 21, he was first elected to Council. “I feel blessed to have been able to learn from some of the best – the late Chief Joe Mathias, and more recently, Chief Gibby Jacob and Chief Bill Williams,” Tewanee says today. During this time, he worked with Council on issues relating to economic development, governance, land claims and education, as well as sports and other activities for young people.

Late last year, Tewanee began a new chapter in his life when he started his own company, Tewanee Consulting Group (TCG). It offers web and multi-media development services to its clients, many of whom are First Nations. TCG (www.tewanee.com) also specializes in professional media relations, writing, and public education.

Tewanee believes that traveling, meeting new people, and having a close network of friends are of the utmost importance. He also offers some real-world advice to students who are being bullied.

“You’re never alone,” he stresses, “even though you may feel like it. Talk to someone – a friend, someone in your family, a counsellor. Trust me; I’ve been there.”

Copyright 2012 First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association