William Hiłamas Edward Wasden Jr. – Hiłamas “One Who Will Fix Everything” is ‘Namgis (Nimpkish Valley and Alert Bay Area) from the Kwakwaka’wakw “Kwakwala Speaking Tribes”. William was born in Alert Bay on the eastern coast of Northern Vancouver Island. He is a descendant of Kwagu’ł “Fort Rupert” Chiefs John ‘Nulis, Udzistalis, and Kxitasu’ George Hunt (who worked with the early anthropologist Franz Boas); ‘Namgis Chiefs Tłakwudłas, ‘Namugwis, and Waxawidi Samuel Innis; and Dzawada’enuxw “Kingcome Inlet” Chief Gwa’yamdzi James T. Dawson. William is an initiated Hamat̕sa “Cannibal Secret Society Dancer” as well as ‘Ma’maka “Shaman Society Dancer”. Both societies are highly respected amongst the Kwakwaka’wakw.
William was taught traditional Kwakwaka’wakw artwork by late ‘Namgis Chief / Master Carver Pal’nakwalagalis Wakas Douglas Cranmer and also from Haida Artist Don Yeomans.
He was taught singing and the traditions around ceremonial culture by the last Kwakwaka’wakw Song Keeper/Composer/Historian, the late Nakwaxda’xw Chief Hiwakalis Tom Willie “Mackenzie” from Blunden Harbour and his late wife, matriarch ‘Malidi Elsie nee Wamiss from Kingcome Inlet. William credits the survival and strength of present Kwakwaka’wakw culture and ceremonies to the teachings of dedicated Elders such as them.
Gilakas’la (Qgee-lah-kas-lah) Thank You