EMMA JOE is a member of the Nłeʔkepmx nation and lives in her home community of Shulus, near the city of Merritt, B.C. Her formal education has been in the areas of Nłeʔkepmxcin/Indigenous Languages, and Education. Her classroom teaching experience has been in upper elementary teaching grade 4/5/6 split grade classes in 1) a remote community in Nuu-chah-nulth territory and 2) a First Nations school in her nation as they transitioned into a 12-month, culturally focused school year. In her informal education, she has worked very closely with language speaker elders, language teachers and other educators in the development of curriculum and Indigenous language learning opportunities for all grades, including the early years. Most recently she has worked with Nłeʔkepmx elders and language teachers to set up and coordinate an Nłeʔkepmxcin Language Nest under the umbrella of the Scw’exmx Child and Family Services Society.
She is currently nearing the end of a Masters degree in Education with a focus on Early Childhood Education. She is also a member of the first cohort of students enrolled in the Nłeʔkepmxcin Language Fluency program at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology which is designed to train language learners to speak (and think) fluently in Nłeʔkepmxcin. Through these studies and experiences she hopes to hone her own language to support the development of early learning spaces embedded in Nłeʔkepmx language and culture.