A Walnut Grove woman is hoping to become the first Indigenous person elected to Langley Township council this fall.
Karen Moraes plans to run for a seat in the Oct. 15 municipal elections.
Originally from Alaska, she went to the University of Washington and studied medicine, running hospital labs in the States before moving to B.C. in 2006. Moraes has Tsimshian, Haida, and Yupik ancestry, and has always had dual citizenship through her father’s side of the family.
“I’ve always been involved with my culture since I was nine,” said Moraes, noting she was a mask dancer.
Living in Cloverdale and Langley, Moraes kept her connections to Walnut Grove as that was where her children went to school for many years.
She’s currently a cultural activities worker with Metis Family Services, and has worked with Langley Township, the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, and the Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival board.
A mother of seven children, she said making a local electoral breakthrough for Indigenous people is important to her.
“There’s been a lot of brick walls thrown in front of me, being Indigenous,” she said, and she’s seen the same thing happen to her children.
An active networker in Langley, she noticed that at many events, hers was the only Indigenous face, she said, which helped convince her to run.
She also has an interest in the fire department, as her father is a retired fire chief, and her oldest daughter is a firefighter herself.
Getting firefighters trained as high-rises arrive in Langley is a key goal.
She also wants to target housing affordability in the Township. Having moved back to Walnut Grove after a few years away, she noted that rents have become “ridiculous.”
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