Joe Descoteaux was born in 1964 in Kitchener, ON - an area representative of the Ojibwa Nation. In the 1980’s Joe moved to British Columbia and met his wife Cheryl Wadhams, from a well-known Kwagiulth family from Alert Bay.. Joe began working in the Northwest Coast style under the guidance of Cheryl and her uncles Don Dawson and Raymond Wadhams. After working in wood for a year, Joe learned jewellery making techniques from Lloyd Wadhams Jr. In 2007, at a potlatch in Alert Bay, Joe was given the name Hilamas, a traditional name from the Dawson family which means 'he fixes things'. In 2019, Joe was featured in the book “Understanding Northwest Coast Indigenous Jewelry” by author Alex Dawkins.