My name is Roger Fernandes. My native name is Kawasa. I'm a member of Lower Elwha Band of the Klallam Indians from the Port Angeles area of the state of Washington.
I was born and raised in the Seattle area. My mother moved to the city when she was a young woman and I was born in 1951 in Seattle. So I guess I'm what you would call an urban Indian, in some regards that makes life difficult in figuring out your native identity. In other regards it cam be seen as an asset. As when you do begin to look for your tribal identity it becomes a very focused search. That focused search led me to art and language and ceremony and story. So the past few years I've been telling Native American stories from this region for my own tribe as well as the tribes of the Puget Sound area.
My family is from again the Lower Elwha and Elwha people are the northern most of the Klallam bands. My mother again is Violet Charles and the Charles name is very big among the Klallam people. There are a lot of English surnames among our tribes of this area including Charles, Johnson, Samson and James, English surnames that were given to the various families as they were identified and moved onto the reservations. My great grandmother's name was Annie Ned. She married into the Makah tribe and moved to Neah Bay, the home of the Makah people, and as such I have many Makah relatives as well. So the northern Olympia Peninsula is where the Klallam people and the Makah people are. I have a family of four brothers and all of us are all active in the culture doing various things like singing, basket making, artwork and stories.