Urban Nation.

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Robert Williams shares his story of culture and resilience from an alley in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Uytae Lee/The Discourse

If we lose our Indigenous culture and language, ‘we lose everything’

Robert Williams overdosed on heroin a few months ago. His language, culture and family's love kept him alive and gave him hope, he says.

For Robert Williams, the importance of his language, Kwak’wala, can’t be overstated. “It’s the foundation of my identity as a human being, as a Bak’wam, as an Indigenous person where I come from,” he says.

It also helped save him when he overdosed on heroin in April.

“The language and the culture and the love that my family has for myself is what kept me alive,” he says. Watch his story:

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of the urban Indigenous community in the Lower Mainland. Sign up here to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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