Sxwpilemaát Siyám (Chief Leanne Joe)

Transformative Storyteller for Economic Reconciliation

My name is Sxwpilemaát Siyám, also known as Chief Leanne Joe, of the Squamish Nation. I am one of sixteen Hereditary Chiefs of the Squamish Nation and the first female Chief of my Lackett Joe Family. I share my name with my late father, Sxwpelim Siyam, Chief Philip Joe.  I am also a descendent of the Kwakwaka’wakw speaking people and carry the traditional name of Q-Gee-Sea Loud, which was given to me by my Cheecheeya (grandmother on my mother’s side).  I am also descendant of the Thomas family of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation on my late grandmother’s side of the family (my late father’s mother).

I was born and raised on the coastal shores of North Vancouver while having close relations to my roots on the east coast shores of Vancouver Island. I moved to the Nicola Valley 10 years ago, after I met, fell in love and married Tim ‘Spike’ Manuel, former Chief of the Upper Nicola Band.  We lived in the Nicola Valley for 10 years but moved back to the West Coast a few years ago. We have a 12-year old son named Isaac, who carries 3 traditional names from all of his families.  My husband is a traditional knowledge keeper/cultural teacher and works with youth and community to engage them in rebuilding their cultural teachings and knowledge.  Our son is our life teacher as he engages us in healing, listening, laughter and patience.

I am currently Transformative Storyteller for Economic Reconciliation, with Simon Fraser University, Faculty of Environment, Community Economic Development. I also serve as a Trustee for the Squamish Nation Trust, representing the benefactors in the management of this Trust. My educational background includes BA in Business, MA in CED (1st year only), CED Certificate, and other related training.

I am a very passionate and resilient woman who is committed to working with others to keep our circle strong and continue the movement towards self-reliance. Our legacy is our children, thus, our responsibility to ensure that their future and the generations to follow have more balanced, peace and wellness.  So, they have the tools to engage in the world in a completely different way than we have and can walk in two worlds with ease…using the past to make a better a future.

Writings by Chief Leanne Joe