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.

K’iinuwaas Carrie Anne Vanderhoop


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.

“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.”

Verica Yovanovich

Admissions & Online Coordinator

Verica is the daughter of Bev Yovanovich and granddaughter of Ada Yovanovich. She is part of the Ts’aahl Clan of Skidegate which originates at Kay Llnagaay Sea Lion Town.

Born and raised on Haida Gwaii, Verica is a proud member of the Haida Nation but is also of Yugoslavian and Maori ancestry. Verica lives in Skidegate with her daughter Arrielle and partner Kirk. She also has a trifecta of furry felines: Prince Peach, Lady Glitter Sparkles, and Qtip. When she is not working you can find her hunting or fishing with her brother; visiting with her family; or, scheming some sort of event.

In the role at HGI, Verica looks forward to using her life experiences, knowledge, connection to the land and relationships with the people to ensure the best experience for all.

Emily Sky Collins

Program & Operations Manager

Emily Sky 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 Program & 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, chasing around her little kids.

Debbie Pearson

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 Daajing Giids Community Salmon Hatchery.

Debbie recently completed her 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.

Katie Powell

Program Coordinator

Katie has spent a lot of time living on Haida Gwaii throughout her life. She thinks fondly of her childhood years spent in the Taaw Tldáaw area, where she uncovered what would be a lifelong love of West Coast life. With deep gratitude to the Haida Nation, Katie has since returned many times to live and work in a few different communities on Haida Gwaii, including Masset, K’il Kun, and, now, Daajing Giids. She is a lover of all things outdoors and has a career background in adventure tourism as both a wilderness guide and naturalist. When not at work, Katie is likely out kayaking, combing the beach for agates, or getting hopelessly lost in the woods.

As program coordinator Katie aims to ensure students, educators, and staff feel properly supported in their roles. She shares a strong passion with her team for the place-based approach to education and hopes to help maintain inclusive and accessible learning environments for all.

Nang Ḵ'uulas Patrick Shannon

Creative Advisor

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.