X’staam Hana’ax is Nicole’s Tsimshian name, it means Victorious Woman. Nicole is a member of the Tsimshian nation, Ganhada (Raven) Clan, of Kitsumkalum. She deeply values family and cultural connections.
She is excited to be supporting the HEAL (Hearts-based Education and Anticolonial Learning) research program at UNBC. She has spent much of her career in related fields and knows from personal experience that practical decolonization training tools are a critical missing element in most institutions in Canada.
Early in her career, Nicole discovered her passion for research as an assistant to Dr. James Macdonald, who devoted much of his career to ethnographic documentation for Kitsumkalum. She worked for him between stints at various positions within Northern Health. She did this while raising 4 children, multiple ‘bonus kids’ (at times as a single parent), and later, pursuing her formal education.
Nicole’s colonial learning journey included Criminology studies at Coast Mountain College (formerly Northwest Community College) and Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Business Administration at UNBC, and a diploma designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
This education and her political activism in social equity have led her to positions where she could focus on decolonizing and championing change in health-related sectors. Most recently this was as Interim Director at the Terrace Women’s Resource Centre, and previously as Interim Director for the Pacific Northwest Division of Family Practice Physicians. She has run for political positions multiple times, serving on the Coast Mountains School Board as trustee, and as a Kitsumkalum Band Councillor.
Nicole is currently Board Chair at Coast Mountain College and serves as a board member on Northern Women’s Recovery House, as well as a few more Provincial Boards and not-for-profit community boards. She is also a business owner with her husband, operating a transportation company in Terrace, BC.
She continues to work with her children and grandchildren to restore her culture including harvesting traditional foods, storytelling, and revitalizing the Smalgy’ax language.
After a long day of smashing the patriarchy, Nicole relaxes by knitting and immersing herself in her land with her much-loved horses, dogs, sheep and chickens.