Once again we were able to have a discussion with a Gitga’at member and to lean more about them. “La’goot,” Spencer Greening took some time to answer a few questions about his story and our people.

(Spencer is shown here on the right, his mother Cherill Pahl on the left)

Please tell us about yourself.

Hello, my traditional name is La’goot. My English name is Spencer Greening. My grandparents are Johnny and Maisie Pahl. I am currently [at the time of this interview] sitting on elected council, working on my Ph.D in Anthropology/Archaeology, and helping out with cultural research in the village when I can.

What would you consider as some of the things you are most proud of?

I think I am always feeling very grateful, proud, and humbled to be working with our community and people. Whenever community members offer words of encouragement and believe in the work I am doing I can’t feel more thankful for the position I am in.

What does being a member of Gitga’at First Nation mean to you?

To me being Gitk’a’ata means living by the teachings and territories that have been passed down to us by our ancestors. It means doing all that you can do to benefit the health of your people. Doing the best you can do to live with the wisdom and love of the ancestors I have heard so much about. I have always heard our elders talk about our people working, and living together like the ts’ił (sandpiper), to me it means striving to live like that. Also, continuing to honor our relatives and neighbors, from the upper Skeena to the outer islands, there are many people and places we are tied to. These connections are much deeper than the current Indian Act system, status cards, and colonial ways of membership. The honor and respect we should give comes from being a part of an ancestral family.

What do you believe to be the importance of self-determination?

To me self-determination is important as it allows us to live as we always have. If we were to lose sight of self-determination we would lose sight of our identity, our connection to land, and connection to each other.