I was born and raised in Bella Bella, BC in Haíɫzaqv homelands. My mother is Marge Housty and my maternal grandparents are late George and Peggy Housty. My father is Larry Jorgenson, originally from London, ON. My paternal grandparents are the late Gordon and late Jean Jorgenson. I am of Haíɫzaqv and mixed settler ancestry.
I was privileged to spend much of my time growing up out on the lands and waters alongside parents who are passionate about justice and land-based learning, and an extended family that has taught me about the deep and reciprocal relationships with our territory and plant and animal kin than enable us all to thrive.
After several years at the Bella Bella Community School and approximately 8 years of homechooling, I completed my secondary education at Victoria High School and moved on to an undergraduate in English at the University of Victoria. I completed most of a Master of Arts in English at UVic before dropping out and moving home to focus my energy on fighting pipelines and upholding Haíɫzaqv sovereignty.
In additional to my post-secondary studies, I've also completed training in areas including facilitation, negotiation, conflict resolution, strategic planning, non-profit management, and professional fundraising.
I've been involved with Qqs (Eyes) Projects Society in some capacity for my entire working life, from seasonal grassroots projects and programs to 15 years at the helm of communications and fundraising. In 2019, I stepped into an interm Executive Director role, and in 2020 I was appointed the permanent E.D. of our organization.
Beyond my work at Qqs, I've served 2 terms on Heiltsuk Tribal Council, including a number of external appointments to regional boards and committees on behalf of our Nation.
I have worked as a freelance writer and educator and a consultant on numerous projects that share a commitment to deep community engagement and decolonial approaches. I also volunteer my time on a number of local, regional, and national boards and committees.
In 2014, I married Daniel Bertrand, a musician and union-side labour lawyer from Victoria, BC. After the birth of our oldest son in 2015, Dan relocated permanently to Bella Bella.
I am extremely proud of Dan's accomplishments, including starting his own law firm - Central Coast Law Corporation - and his elected role as Area A Director for the Central Coast Regional District.
Our second son arrived in 2017 and we are grateful to raise our children surrounded by so many great teachers: their extended family, their community, and their homelands.