My given name is Nathan James Grandjambe. It is entirely given as even my last name was given to my family in an assimilation camp (residential school). It is a French name no Frenchman would have and literally translated means “Big Long Leg”. My great-great grandfather was quite tall when he first attended residential school, so it seemed an appropriately easy name for the French missionary to Canadianize him with.
Nêhiyaw Investment Advisor
I’m a proud father, husband, son, brother, nêhiyaw, Earthling, person, Canadian and Investment Advisor in that order. Under the nêhiyaw concept of ‘wahkotowin’, it is important to remember our active place within our web of relationships. As people, organisms, and physical manifestations of creation, we are all relations and owe each other the respect those relations are due.
Age: I was born in 1984, an auspicious year, considering the increasingly relevant George Orwell book titled as such.
Provenance: I was born on Treaty 8 territory in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Fort McMurray, once a boom town, and a city when I was born, and now a “boom” (bust?) urban service area. These settler “booms” are long understood by the indigenous population, scattered amidst the semi-constant influx and exodus of workers. My people saw it previously during the fur trade, when the hamlet I was raised at, Fort Chipewyan, was a key hub of that temporally finite, yet culturally notable, economic boom and bust.
How long have you lived in Vancouver? Since 1994 – growing up near our reserve in the hamlet of Fort Chipewyan didn’t appeal to my parents’ long term hopes for their kids, given the limited opportunities available, so they made the difficult decision to leave our community at that time.
Occupations: Well, I’ve been a newspaper delivery boy (’96) a computer programmer (’02), a production labourer, a Tim Hortons employee (’09), a grocery clerk (’10), a bank teller (’13) and an investment advisor since 2018 to the present day. Within that web, I have found myself increasingly drawn to connecting with people collaborating towards their deepest goals. This is something the dyed-in-the-wool introvert in me would have never imagined, even in my early twenties. Along the way I took ToastMasters and cemented myself as a proud ambivert, that is, one who can gain energy by both personal pursuits and social engagement.
Passions and Interests: In broad, my primary passions and interests are entwined within the complex web of relationships that is life on this planet. Whether externally via sociology, ecology, and the innumerable economic connections we share, or internally in psychology, philosophy, and language, I find no shortage of passions and interests to explore. On a more practical level, I focus on my family, my language learning (currently nêhiyaw), nerdy hobbies, and sharing with friends. More professionally my passion is in collaborating with people towards their goals. I have found that guiding people through the complicated and interconnected web of relations in finance has filled my life with tremendous purpose. Thankfully, each of my other passions finds relation to this personal mission, in which I feel tremendously grounded and centered.
What do people know you for? Friends know me as an articulate, passionate, driven, kind and reliable family man of outspoken principles, who sees humour and insight in most anything. Also, a gamer friend referenced me as a relentless killing machine, so there’s that too.
Thoughts on Vancouver? Vancouver is a modern symbol of a ‘progressive’ colonial North America. Brimming with opportunity, putatively diverse in peoples and advanced in a technical sense, it also lacks sustainability, coherent values, and exists in a tenuous state of economic vulnerability. Dependent upon foreign trade while also negatively impacted by foreign money, it is becoming rapidly less affordable, despite the evident bounty of the locale. While aware of its settler origins, it also doesn’t bother itself by carrying any actual responsibility for it. We see land acknowledgements, though even those are still fought in some jurisdictions, while we also see an invalidation of Indigenous claims of this almost entirely unceded land. In short, it thinks better of itself than it is, which is perfectly symbolic of settler North America as a whole.
That might seem pessimistic, but it’s how things have been. That said, we are seeing increased awareness outside the narrow box of patriotic settler Canadian history and are coming to understand the impacts of our relationship to Earth’s ecology.
I like the land, the peoples, and have a strong belief in our ability to find greater balance in all respects as we increase our understanding and efforts within our broad and personal relations. We are all related, and here is a place we can grow together.
It is strange how people come into your life or sphere, in this case, Nathan contacted me for a portrait and we had a coffee together which I like to do before a portrait session, there is something enlightening about the face to face, the joy of talking and coming up with ideas that reflect the individual’s goals. During our coffee, I was so warmed by Nathan’s thoughts ranging from fatherhood to struggling with shyness in his teens, how he could barely look a customer in the eye when he was serving coffee at Tim Hortons, to this very deep and delightful human being. For the portraits, we decided to include forests, water and the red canoe – representing the imagery of guiding people on their journeys. On a late summer afternoon, we met at Bunsen Lake the perfect British Columbia backdrop. Nathan’s financial guiding can be accessed here.
Conversation & Portrait by Tallulah
July 2021, Vancouver, Canada
Published November 2021