“Our Journey, Our Choice, Our Future” Research Project Welcomes Three Huu-ay-aht University Students to the Research Team!

The Queen’s University research team is delighted to welcome three Huu-ay-aht post-secondary students to join the project! Over the summer, Ayanna Clappis, Becki Nookemis, and Mikaela Petticrew will be helping with a ‘Photovoice” research project, which involves asking Huu-ay-aht citizens to take pictures and share stories about Treaty. This research will be going on from May to July in Ana’cla, Port Alberni, and Vancouver.

Ayanna will work with Jon Aarssen in Ana’cla, Becki Nookemis will work with Vanessa Sloan Morgan in Vancouver, and Mikaela Petticrew will work in Port Alberni with support from Brent Ronning (Huu-ay-aht’s Post-secondary Education Administrator). Learn more about each student below!


Ayanna Clappis                                                               

My name is Ayanna Clappis. On my mother’s side I am Huu-ay-aht and on my father’s side I am Somali. My mother, Crystal Clappis, is the daughter of Zelta Clappis and the late Chester Clappis. I am currently studying Political Science at the University of Victoria and working on a certificate in the Human Dimensions of Climate Change at the undergraduate level. Prior to this, I studied at Vancouver Island University where I began my studies in Business. In transitioning my studies, I decided to hone in on the subjects I am most passionate about- the environment and politics! By marrying the two I hope to have a solid knowledge background to reach my goal of becoming an environmental lawyer. I am a Councillor at Large for Uvic’s Native Students Union and a member of the Uvic Green Party and Students of Colour Collective. I am excited to work on this collaborative research project to document the historic modern treaty process for the Huu-ay-aht community!

Becki Nookemis 

My name is Becki Nookemis and I am a member of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. My parents are Matilda Charleson from Hesquiaht First Nation and Duane Nookemis from Huu-ay-aht First Nation. I grew up in Anacla, but currently live in Nanaimo while attending Vancouver Island University. I am in the Bachelor of Arts program, majoring in Psychology and minoring in First Nation Studies. In the future I hope to work with Indigenous children and youth in some way.

Mikaela Petticrew 

My name is Mikaela Petticrew and my parents are Andrea Pettigrew and Eddie Lopez. I come from the Johnson family, which is on my mother’s side. I was born and raised in Port Alberni. I am a member of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and I am excited to work on this project as I’m sure it will be an excellent experience! I am enrolled currently at North Island College where I am exploring the Psychology field. I am excited to collaborate with members of my community and learn new things about our culture during the course of this project!


The research team will be conducting a second round of Community Engagement Sessions: April 24th from 5 and 8pm in Vancouver; April 26th from 5pm and 8pm in Ana’cla, and April 27th from 5pm and 8pm in Port Alberni. Please join us to meet the incoming Huu-ay-aht Research Assistants, learn about the Photovoice projects that we hope you will participate in over the summer, get an update from the research team, and share your thoughts on Treaty implementation! Stay tuned to the Huu-ay-aht Facebook page and website for specific locations for the gatherings. As always, feel free to speak to a member of the project’s Advisory Committee or Research Team with any questions or comments. We hope to see you in April!

Huu-ay-aht Advisory Committee

  • Simon Dennis, Elder & Mainland Representative
  • Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Ha’wiih Council Representative
  • Wišqii (Rob Dennis Jr.), Port Alberni Representative
  • Stella Peters, Ana’cla Representative
  • Jane Peters, Ana’cla Representative
  • Mercedes Williams, Youth Representative