Connie Waddell (nee Nookemis, traditional name Nanaa-aqs) is the daughter of Rose and Clifford Charles. Her grandparents are the late Martin and Cecilia Charles, Edward and Mable Nookemis, and Joe Edgar. Her grandmother Frances Edgar still resides in the Ditidaht community.
Connie grew up in Bamfield, B.C. She left for high school and to further her education, plus gain some work experience. She has worked as a waitress, caterer, chambermaid, guide on a whale watching boat, dispatch for floatplanes and, finally, for the Department of Indian Affairs in their Health Department.
She returned to Bamfield in 1992, where she had her son Myles and purchased the Bamfield General Store. She became the sole proprietor in 1994 and sold it in 1999. That year, she became the Tourism Manager with Huu-ay-aht Natural Resources.
This job was mostly managing the Pachena Bay Campground and working on the plans for Kiixin. The Nations’ heritage site was a rewarding project that involved a great team of Huu-ay-aht citizens. This position took her through two summers before becoming the Director of Tribal Operations and then Executive Director for her Nation.
Connie participated in the administrative behind the scenes of the Treaty negotiations. It was a hectic, challenging and exhausting, but a very rewarding part of her career. The next step is as an elected Councillor, holding the Finance, Capital and Infrastructure portfolios.
“I have been very fortunate in my life, as many significant milestones happened for me in our community of Anacla. I graduated in 1987 and my family hosted a dinner at our old community hall, which the whole village attended,” she said. “I was the first person to receive the Eddy Bamfield bursary and it was also my very first speech.”
Her son grew up in his community with all of his family around him. Together they built a house there where they lived full time, until it was time to leave for Grade 7. Pachena beach is also where Connie married her husband Mark Waddell.
She is very proud to be a Huu-ay-aht Citizen working for the people.