Joshua Watts always acknowledges his Indigenous roots foremost, understanding the importance of his lineage. He is Nuuchahnulth, of the Tseshaht tribe, and Coast Salish, of the lake Cowichan tribe, though he was raised in Squamish away from his ancestral territory and had little connection with his culture growing up. Because of this disconnection, Joshua has dedicated a lot of time to youth development and mentorship programs promoting cultural resurgence amongst Indigenous youth in the several communities he is apart of.
His passion for carving started during his youth when he was frequently canoe racing. When he was 18 he began apprenticing under the guidance of Salish artist, Ray Natraoro, building canoes and later artistic sculptures, such as totem poles and masks. During this time he began participating in the Salish culture and learning the teaching of his ancestors. His connection with culture largely influenced his lifestyle choices. In 2013, at the age of 18, he began attending SFU for his Bachelors of Science in Biology.
Now, 4 years later, Joshua is flourishing on his independent projects of sculpture and design, and continually discovering the beauty of his ancestry though the art of his people. He is a recent recipient of the YVR Emerging Artist award, with further recognition of the Frank O’Neill award, acknowledging cultural vision and determination similar to he who the award is named. Once he completes his BSC in Biology he will return to school to pursue a degree in Law so that he can serve as an advocate to Indigenous communities, protecting the lands, waters and ways of his people.
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