A̱ka̱la Society is an outdoor education non-profit operated by a group of Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w women: Julia McIntyre-Smith, Lindsey Willie, Jessica Key, Sherry Moon, Alana Coon, Dawn Nicolson, and Kristine Speier.
Julia McIntyre-Smith, Ik’sta̱mgilag̱ame’
Julia is the founder of A̱ka̱la Outdoor Education Society. Exploring her traditional territories gave her a purpose and an identity. She wants to create access to the land for fellow Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w people, so that they can experience and connect to the places that their ancestors travelled.
Lindsey Willie, Amya’xid
Lindsey is a member of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw People, living and working in the remote village of Ukwanalis— Kingcome Inlet, BC. Her filmmaking explores Indigenous identities, particularly by youth who are hungry to learn their ancestral knowledge and wisdom from their elders. Willie explores the revitalization of her community’s language, culture, and arts, and in doing so, helps to recover and sustain Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw artistic heritage. She now works as the Language and Culture Teacher for Kingcome’s elementary school and sits on the board for the Nunwakola Cultural Society.
Sherry Moon, Dadux̱wsa̱me’
Sherry Moon is a Captain and a Guide at Sea Wolf Adventures and an active proponent of cultural revitalization. Having grown up in Ukwanalis, Sherry has a deep understanding and respect for Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw culture, which she shares with youth. Sherry has a big heart. She is always giving of herself to ensure others are happy and healthy. She has a quiet confidence, that is respected throughout the community.
Jessica Key, Kwanxwalaogwa
Jessica Key a member of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw People. She is a registered nurse working with youth facing mental health and substance use issues in North Vancouver. A career focus includes implementing and delivering culturally safe care for indigenous clients and youth in health care settings. Jessica brings a mental health and wellness focus to the Akala programs. Her vision is to use connection and engagement with traditional territory as a mental wellness intervention to support mental and emotional health.
Alana Coon, Nanwakolagalis
Alana Coon was raised in G̱waʼyasda̱ms and still resides in the community. She has taken part in various contract work with the Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w Tribal Council that has connected her to our traditional territories and land. She is currently supporting Ḵwikwa̱sutinux̱ Haxwa’mis First Nation in various roles, working for her people and helping her community in any way that she can. She also sits on the board of Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w Fisheries Group and helps coordinate the G̱waʼyasda̱ms Youth Play Potlatch. She is passionate about finding opportunities for our youth and for there future.
Dawn Nicolson and Kristine Speier are both citizens of the Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w nations. Dawn is an articled student with Jack Woodward Q.C. Kristine is a self employed CPA. Collectively they have many years of experience working with the Musgamagw Dzawada̱’enux̱w people, and provide invaluable insights into the community.