Haida Gwaii Observer Local Journalism Initiative reporter Karissa Gall is pictured on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in Queen Charlotte/Daajing Giids. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Haida Gwaii Observer Local Journalism Initiative reporter Karissa Gall is pictured on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 in Queen Charlotte/Daajing Giids. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Editorial: Hello and haawa Haida Gwaii

An introduction to Local Journalism Initiative reporter Karissa Gall

The arrival of a Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii, the construction of crucial local infrastructure and much, much more have all been delayed due to COVID-19, least of all my overdue haircut and this introduction.

Still, I really should find a photogenic angle and officially say, “Hello.” My name is Karissa Gall – you may have seen the relatively long “Local Journalism Initiative reporter” byline on our website and papers over the past few months. I’m the new editor/reporter, here on the island for a contract thanks in part to funding from the federal government.

A little bit about me. I’m originally from southwestern Ontario, a medium-sized city surrounded by cornfields called Chatham. I’ve also lived in others parts of Ontario, in Alberta and B.C. for several years, as well as New York City, where I started my Master of Journalism degree and developed my capstone project, a WordPress plugin to automate a media guide for reporting on mental health. I’ve also lived in a couple of countries in Africa, volunteering at one of the national newspapers in Malawi, and as a communications specialist for Veterinarians Without Borders in Ghana and Kenya.

ALSO READ: ‘At least they’re safe:’ Arrival of new Syrian refugee family to Haida Gwaii delayed due to COVID-19

Immediately before accepting this contract I was the first “mobile multimedia journalist” for Black Press, travelling to more than 15 of our community news offices around the province at last count, all within about a year. Some of my favourite stories written during my time as the mobilist include a tour of the Indigenous-owned sustainable scallop farm in Prince Rupert and a feature on the man who lives in a shoe in Smithers.

I’ve learned that moving so much can be pretty all-consuming, but in my spare time I like to play tennis, listen to music, enjoy stand-up comedy and socialize. I also like to read, write, take photos and make videos, which brings to mind the phrase, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

These past few months have felt like work though, haven’t they? It has been difficult for so many of us and many have been impacted differently.

At times I’ve felt overcome with gratitude to the Haida Nation for being able to take up residence on this beautiful archipelago, where as yet there have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Haawa.

At other times I’ve felt incredibly inadequate and lonely in my work-from-home-office in Daajing Giids – I moved here by myself – and longed to be with my immediate family out east.

ALSO READ: Daughter of man at B.C. care home hit by COVID-19 says loneliness is a big issue

All of you have helped me through. You who have answered my emails, taken my cold calls, shared your stories with me over the phone and agreed to meet in person when the time is right. Haawa.

Now for the obligatory (but very sincere) plug. With states of emergency, travel restrictions and pandemic “bubbles” still in effect, I need your story ideas and voices more than ever to do this paper justice. Please email me or write a letter to the editor. Whether you think it’s a big idea or small, COVID-related or not, I want to hear it.

With your help, I’ll be doing my best to keep an accurate record of community news, uphold and advocate for public accountability, and celebrate all that is unique and joyful about the islands.

Haawa so much. I hope to hear from you soon.

ALSO READ: Hearts in windows connect Haida Gwaii residents while social distancing, self-isolating

Do you have something we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Department of Oceans and Fisheries has announced as of July 19 chinook salmon is not to be fished in certain areas in BC tidal waters until July. Spring chinook salmon are seen swimming. (Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Chinook Salmon limits set to zero in some BC tidal waters

DFO implement restrictions to protect Chinook Salmon

Richard Green and Alex Campbell stand in solemn reflection of the survivors and victims of the residential school system on May 30, in Prince Rupert National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 is a time to reflect on the sacrifices and honour the contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Metis of Canada. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Reflecting on National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is to celebrate the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis to Canada’s culture

Mark Perry in concert at the old Driftwood School (Marty Clemens photo)
Mark Perry releases new single ahead of Northwest album.

“Golden Spruce” tells the story of a forester who cut down an old-growth Sitka Spruce on Haida Gwaii

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
Suspected methamphetamine and scale seized by police. (Terrace RCMP photo)
Terrace RCMP seize guns, ammo, suspected narcotics

Man released after court appearance

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read