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

Protecting watershed key to Queen Charlotte candidates

Queen Charlotte has a real live contest for council. Not only does… Continue reading

Tahayghen, cultural teachings key for school trustee candidates

Saving Tahayghen Elementary and restoring Haida language were big topics last night… Continue reading

ELECTION DAY: Polls are open, here’s where to vote

Haida Gwaii voters to elect mayors, councillors, regional district directors, and school trustees

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

New school bus ready to go at Chief Matthews Elementary

Students at Chief Matthews Elementary cheered today as a woven cedar rope… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read