HGI and the education we deliver are based on the principle of mutual respect, for each other and the human and ecological communities we inhabit.
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Anthony Ormond
For nearly two decades the focus of Carlos’ work has been on developing and participating in strategic initiatives to support the continuous improvement of communities and the ecological systems they are dependent on.
Carlos' ancestry is Irish, Spanish and Italian, and he is a citizen of both Canada and Argentina. Carlos grew up on the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Musqueam people in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the ancestral and traditional territory of the Het people. Carlos lives in Daajing Giids Village of Queen Charlotte with his wife and two young sons who have known Haida Gwaii as their home since they were born; and volunteers his time as a Director for the Literacy Haida Gwaii board, and as a Commissioner for Haida Gwaii Recreation.
Emily Sky Collins
Emily studied cultural anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia and was a student of the very first Haida Gwaii Semester in 2010. These experiences helped to further her curiosity in the many ways that nature and culture intersect.
As Operations Manager her role involves collaborating with students, community, instructors, and staff to develop and deliver transformative education inspired by Haida Gwaii. While much of her work is behind the scenes, she is focused on supporting best practice place-based education, ensuring that all HGI operations are running smoothly, and helping students to have the fullest experience possible.
When she is not at work, you can find her at the beach with her bad dog, Jude.
K’iinuwaas Carrie Anne Vanderhoop
Indigenous and Community Initiatives Manager
Carrie Anne is the daughter of Evelyn Vanderhoop and granddaughter of Delores Churchill of the Gawa Git’ans Massett Inlet Eagle Clan of Old Massett. Carrie Anne’s father is David Vanderhoop, Aquinnah Wampanoag from the island of Neope, commonly known as Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Carrie Anne holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Carrie Anne comes from a long line of Haida weavers and carries on the tradition as a weaver of the prestigious Raven’s Tail and Naaxiin (commonly referred to as Chilkat) textile garments. Carrie Anne lives in Massett with her daughter Rosalie. She believes nature is the greatest classroom, doesn’t own a television, and spends as much time outdoors with Rosalie as possible.
“Connecting with our lands and waters is crucial, instilling values of respect for our environment and fostering relationships with the natural world around us, trees, forests, ocean, shores, is important to me as a parent and an educator.”
Finance and Administration Manager
Debbie arrived on Haida Gwaii as a young adult and to this day remains enthralled with the people, lifestyle, culture and environmental richness provided by the islands. She is passionate about initiatives focused on sustainable community development that serve to protect both the people and environment.
As Finance and Administration Manager, Debbie works behind the scenes to balance budgets and report operations to the various levels of government. She has 30 years of management experience working for a wide variety of community-based and not-for-profit organizations. Her past work has included planning and implementation of public works infrastructure projects, numerous social programs, community events and festivals. Currently, she is also employed by the Hecate Strait Streamkeepers and manages projects focused on salmonid education and stewardship, assessment and habitat restoration.
In her spare time, Debbie volunteers spends time assisting at the Queen Charlotte Community Salmon Hatchery.
Debbie is currently working on her thesis in completion of a Master of Arts in Environment and Management, Royal Roads University.
When not working or volunteering she can be found playing in the dirt of her organic garden. She has raised two children on Haida Gwaii, both of whom she is profoundly proud of.
After obtaining a journalism and human rights degree, and an outdoor adventure naturalist diploma, Laura spent years working as an outdoor educator, wilderness guide and adventure therapist across Canada and Australia. In 2010, she began spending her autumns on Haida Gwaii where she fell in love with the people and place.
Since moving to the islands in 2013, Laura has lived in several different communities and worked various jobs: newspaper reporter with the Haida Gwaii Observer, organic farmer at Riverworks Farm, interim deputy clerk at the Village of Port Clements, and program coordinator with Haida Gwaii Recreation.
These combined experiences have prepared Laura for her current multifaceted role as a bus driving, risk managing, people gathering, community connecting, report writing HGHES Program Assistant.
She’s also a Director on the Haida Gwaii Rollergirls Board, member of the Razor Clams Roller Derby Team, a volunteer firefighter and licensed paramedic with the Skidegate Fire Department, and a radio show host with the Haida Gwaii Radio Society.
Alessandra Monique Cross-Lusignan
Alessandra is the daughter to Tanu Lusignan, granddaughter of Monique Brown, and Raymond Reid – Bill Reid’s adopted son. She belongs to the Staastaas Eagle Clan on Haida Gwaii through her mother and grandmother who both shared the name Violet Cross.
Alessandra’s clan might be from the northern part of the island, but she grew up on the southern end in the village of Skidegate. At a young age she learned traditional Haida singing and dancing, attended the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program, and berry picked with her late great grandmother Nelly Cross. In adulthood Alessandra joined Air Canada as an international Flight Attendant, where she was able to represent her heritage to people from all over the world. She now lives in Skidegate, where she exercises her traditions by food gathering, immersing herself in nature, and sharing stories with her family.
Accepting the position as Program Coordinator, Alessandra joins us as the newest member of the HGI family. She works to coordinate and support our instructors as well as our students. Alessandra comes from a background in customer service that spans more than ten years, has a firm understanding and love for her heritage, and a vast array of knowledge gained from world travel, and post-secondary education.
Jaad Gudgihljiwah Michaela McGuire
Community Research Assistant
Through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant partnership between HGI and Dr. Daniel McCarthy at the University of Waterloo, Jaad Gudgihljiwah Michaela McGuire assists HGI in coordinating research initiatives. Michaela recently completed her master’s degree in Criminology from Simon Fraser University (SFU) having defended her thesis titled: Decolonizing Justice: The formation of a Haida Justice System in May of 2020. She plans to continue her academic pursuits by pursuing a Ph.D. at SFU in the Fall of 2020.
Michaela’s ancestry is Haida, Ojibwe, British, and Irish, she considers herself a Haida citizen first and foremost. She grew up in Burnaby visiting Haida Gwaii every summer and has lived on Haida Gwaii off and on since her early 20’s. Michaela’s research interests include Haida justice, decolonization, Haida Identity, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, self-governance, Indigenous women, and corrections. In her role as Community Research Assistant, she combines her passion for research with her love of all things Haida Gwaii.
Michaela is proud to spend the majority of her time walking amongst the same forests and beaches her ancestors did while, simultaneously being herded by her dog Milo. When not working Michaela enjoys hiking, exploring Haida Gwaii, writing poetry, and pretending to know how to garden.
Kate was born in Canada and grew up on the island of Bermuda. She feels fortunate to have returned to an island community that has the great character of Haida Gwaii. For the past 10 years Kate has worked in education management in Toronto, Ontario, specializing in the teaching and student service support of hospitality, tourism, and summer programming for students from around the world.
An explorer at heart, Kate chose to complete a Master of Arts in Tourism Management at Royal Roads University in 2018 which energized her passion for community, learning, and adventure. The journey left her hooked on the West Coast! In August 2020 Kate made Haida Gwaii her new home – so far, she’s learned how to build a beach fire, struggle into a wetsuit, and remember where to go for cell service.
Kate is honored to join the Haida Gwaii Institute as Program Assistant, to support the delivery of such valuable academic and experiential programming. She has enjoyed every moment so far on Haida Gwaii and is excited for what is to come.
Nang Ḵ'uulas Patrick Shannon
Patrick is a First Nations professional creative and social entrepreneur from Haida Gwaii, raised by his Haida elders he endeavours to keep storytelling alive through today's modern art forms. He travels the country empowering neighbouring aboriginal communities in using technology and media, to not only address and heal social issues, but to start forging new cultural identities in the modern world.
Originally from HlG̱aagilda (Skidegate), after a decade of working in several creative industries throughout Vancouver, BC, Patrick returned home to Haida Gwaii to reconnect with his community and culture, and to help develop new media industries.