Returning to our roots: New energy in the north

  • Mar. 19, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Part 1 of the “Made on Haida Gwaii” SeriesBy April Dutheil–“One of the best things about me is being from Haida Gwaii” says Dana Bellis who recently returned from the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards in Vancouver. Jaad Gudangaa ‘laas (Happy Lady), also know as Dana Bellis attended George M. Dawson in Masset, learning determination and hard work from an early age, “I always felt I had the support of the teachers and the community, but I also had to do it myself.” The islands have given Dana incredible gifts, “the islands foster an independent, creative and confident determination”, and for this she pays tribute to the Haida community and the island people. Immersed in the field of consulting in policy development and community-engagement, Dana has been fortunate to work with indigenous health and government organizations, energy companies, and the aboriginally owned and operated Indigenuity Consulting Group. Energized by the opportunity to work and engage with the community, “I am continually in awe of the people from Haida Gwaii, they have the innate ability to shape the world, making it how they want it to be”. While earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Women’s studies from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, Dana played rugby with the UNBC Women’s Rugby Team. As part of the team’s community involvement, Dana coached the UNBC Girls Mini Rugby Team and helped to inspire confidence and healthy living among the young girls she coached. Dana later travelled to Kenya, learning about community development first-hand and Finland, studying circumpolar history. Exploring the islands as a child and visiting Europe at age 8, Dana’s curiosity recently took her to Norway. At Tromsø University, the only university in the world above the Arctic circle, Dana studied reindeer herding history and it’s relation to gender and policy, obtaining a Masters degree in the Philosophy of Indigenous studies. Along with an offer to publish her research, Dana considers this to be one opportunity, among many which have shaped where she is today. But you won’t find her biggest accomplishments on her resume. Named Jaad Gudangaa ‘laas, Dana considers striving for happiness to be central to a good life. Working from Haida Gwaii fosters a work-life balance like none-other, “I can work during the day, then relax with friends and family, baking cookies for the Masset soup kitchen and sewing quilts for charity”. Dana also notes the career benefits of being on island, “Where else in the world can you be mentored by such amazing professionals? Here you can literally look up someone’s name in the phone book and be talking to a top negotiator or business leader in Canada, and they want to talk to you, where else can you do that?”When asked about what’s next, Dana has a list full of things that excite and energize, among that list is assisting with organizing the upcoming Potlatch for the Residential School Survivor Totem Pole Raising in Masset, attending the 2012 Aboriginal Opportunities Forum in Vancouver and contributing to conversations on ways to improve community access to energy, social value and opportunity in the north. Inspired by the confidence of Haida Gwaii and curiosity “I love to see where things go, where a good idea can take you”, says Dana.Age: 27Current location: MassetPhilosophy: Work hard, be honest, and when in doubt be kind.

Just Posted

Environment Canada warns of strong winds Monday

Monday ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii has been cancelled

Investigating change to B.C.’s licence and quota system

MP Ken Hardie hears from fish harvesters how corporations are favoured under current regime

Bad weather delays next Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Stormy weather will delay the next ferry sailing from Prince Rupert to… Continue reading

Number-one bud: Q.C. cannabis store could be the first on Haida Gwaii

A local business owner is looking to open the first licensed cannabis… Continue reading

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, expenses

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read