DEANNA LEWIS FOR MAYOR:
A Conversation with Kalkalath
by Bianca Peters, Publisher
Squamish Nation's Kalkalath (Deanna Lewis) is throwing her hat in the ring to campaign to be Squamish's first indigenous Mayor.
Bianca Peters: Congratulations on your announcement to run for Mayor of Squamish! What inspired you to run in municipal politics at this time?
Deanna Lewis: If there was a time the time is now! As an Indigenous Squamish Woman, a resident my whole life, my people have been here since time immemorial. We need a voice at the table.
BP: What was it like growing up in Squamish?
DL: Growing up in Squamish was amazing, sports clubs were elite! I played soccer my whole life here, then carried soccer on by coaching my own kids in the Squamish Youth Soccer Association. The local stores were unique and special. Everyone knew each other.
BP: Who was your biggest influence growing up?
DL: My biggest influence in my life is my late grandfather, Norman Lewis! He taught me to be a proud strong intelligent indigenous woman.
BP: What is the background of the Lewis family?
DL: The Lewis family is one of the larger families of the Squamish Nation. I have over a thousand family members. We are from Chiyakamesh.
Deanna Lewis is a communications and cultural entrepreneur creating awareness in business.
BP: What do you currently do for work?
DL: I currently run my own business and just getting off the ground with it. It’s called KC-Kalkalilh Communications. I’m working with different nations and creating Cultural Awareness in business.
BP: What do you miss about the “old Squamish”?
DL: I miss the Big Scoop, Mykonos, the pool hall, many things, like the closeness of community. The green spaces and wild life.
BP: What are you excited about for the future of Squamish?
DL: A place where we can all afford to work play and live in Squamish.
BP: As a member of the Squamish Nation, what are the pressing needs for the band?
DL: We still don’t have drinking water in Cheekeye Chiyakamesh since 2004. This is NOT ok!
BP: What are the top issues facing the community of Squamish at the moment?
DL: One, development without better planning for parking and road access. And transportation traffic is getting bad. Two, the relationship with Squamish Nation and Municipality needs work, not just throwing the word reconciliation around without real action.
BP: How do you propose we solve these issues?
DL: Education is key so if we do more with schools and parents in our community with the issues that matter, we can find ways to be closer and have better understanding of how we can come together and discuss solutions.
BP: How does your background influence your leadership style?
DL: I was trained my whole life to be a speaker and leader in my family and community. I taught in the schools for 10 years and then was elected onto the Squamish Nation Council for the past 4 years. it was a natural fit for how I was raised to speak on our issues and as a councilor we got a lot of work done for the betterment for our Squamish Nation and knew that the next step would have to be the local municipality and bring those teachings there. We all live in this beautiful town and I truly believe we are in a good time as people!
BP: What role do you think social media plays in politics?
DL: The role social media has in politics is we have an amazing up and coming youth that are very keen and involved in our community, which is the largest voting age, and social media is a platform all on its own. To reach many of our youth and people as a whole, media is a great tool.
BP Are you concerned about negative attack ads?
DL: No I am not. I am a strong woman and do not internalize attack tactics. I am who I am and no matter what, people will find ways to attack and we can’t please everyone.
BP: As we come out of a two year pandemic, what positives did you experience?
DL: That we did get through it with a low rate of sickness and deaths. That our Squamish Nation really came together during the pandemic and that our ceremonies and sports teams are back.
Deanna Lewis is raising confident and strong daughters.
BP: You are raising 3 children. What do you want to instill in them moving forward?
DL: Two of my children are young adults and I have a little girl. I have raised them to be independent, stay active and know their culture, and walk in a good way. I call them my conscience. They are a reflection of myself and I am the proudest momma!
BP: What has playing soccer taught you?
DL: I played soccer my whole life, travelled all over the world and coached for 15 years. It has taught me world views, leadership skills, team work, importance of fitness and health. The best is the relationships you make along the way.
BP: Where is your favourite place in Squamish to unwind?
DL: Evans Lake it’s peaceful and beautiful it’s where I run, swim, safe place I would run up there when I am having bad day, and sing and sing and then nothing can blow me over; my own self healing.
BP: How do people contact you to get involved in your campaign?
DL: I don’t have a website yet but I will right now you can reach me on Facebook Deanna Lewis or Instagram Deelew10.My email is email@example.com
BP: What’s your favourite cool treat in Squamish?
DL: Gelato from Chill Gelato! So yummy.