Student Stories: Meet Lia Rosemary Skiljaadee Jaada K’yaalts’ii

Nation: Haida, also of mixed European descent

Unceded Coast Salish Territories, and Gaw Tlagee, Haida Gwaii

What advice would you offer to a first year NITEP student? If you are not having to take online courses, make the most of being in program with amazing students who have indigenous ancestory and care about indigenous issues like language and cultural preservation. Never be afraid to reach out to any professors, and I highly recommend being open and honest with all your immediate professors and NITEP staff.


Share a highlight of NITEP: The personalities invovled. The intelligence, care and compassion I feel Johanna Sam (from the Chilcotin has), the strength, experience Marny Point brings, the information, cheerfulness and excitement I feel Alexis has for everyone in the program- all help make the program feel more comfortable.


List any awards you have received:

At UBC- the Thunderbird Rowing Award.

Also been helped, twice, financially by the school.


List any clubs/organizations you are involved with:

Kaleidoscope- Peer Support Mental Health group which started on UBC campus, and now has a website and is more of a society, that also helps people outside the UBC community.

Museum of Vancouver Society- I’ve been staff there, before and after covid. Giving tours, invovled in their education programming.


What or who inspires you?

My younger sister. She is a mother, and a Parks employee who successfully made it through BCIT, and now works in Haida Gwaii, often getting to work on projects in Gwaii Haanas. She knows a lot about animal species up there.

My younger brother. He is a great uncle to our nephew, and he is invovled with language preservation with our naani (Haida grandmother). He is also invovled in archeology work on Haida Gwaii, surfs, and is a fairly dedicated basket ball player.


What are some of your proudest achievements?

Being awarded a (second team) All- American Award for the sport of Rowing, two years in a row, while a student at Duke University in 2006, and 2007. Being involved in suicide prevention work, and mental health. Getting an undergraduate degree from UBC (in Anthropolgy and African Studies), and being able to graduate in the Longhouse in 2014. Performing in the last Hobiyee (before Covid) at the PNE colliseum with the Rainbow Creek Dancers.

Share your personal interests:

  • What is your favorite movie?  Ben-Hur, Star Wars, and many, many more.
  • What is your favorite exam trick? Get enough sleep before the night before, write good notes, review often.
  • What is your favorite study snack? fruit
  • What is your favorite book? (Art Exhibition Guide) Totems to Turquoise. Any book written by Lois Sherr Dubin.


If you could invite anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, to dinner, who would it be? My Auntie Delphine. I’d call her back from Haida Heaven, just to hear her sneaky laugh, and fill her in on all my happenings.


Where do you see yourself in the future? Likely in Haida Gwaii.


Any additional information you’d like to share: I’m five weeks pregnant and student-mothers in the program, and those running the program help inspire me. I’m extremely grateful UBC is a safe and peaceful place to be studying.