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Faculty and Elder biographies

Elders

Se'qwa:y e'nte'n" (Danny Charlie)

Danny Charlie was born June 23rd, 1948 in Chilliwack and raised on the Skwah First Nations Reserve. The same as every other First Nations Person, he suffered from many traumatic experiences as a child that inflicted many hurtful, shameful and embarrassing scars in the back of his mind and heart that he carried in silence for many years. Then as he entered into his puberty and youth stage of life, all those hurts and pains slowly turned into anger and rage that became a self-inflicting antidote of alcohol and drugs that led to a path of destructiveness of himself and as a result of his anger and rage, he developed a pattern of petty criminal behaviors of petty theft that had punishable consequences.

This carried on all through his teenage stage of life until he turned 21 years of age, then in the winter of 1970 his parents turned his life over to the Longhouse Spiritual Leaders/Elders. At this point in his life, was a turning point for him, as the purpose of his parents giving him to the Elders was to save his life, and this is exactly what they did. So what happened to Danny is that he received his Traditional Name "Se'qwa:y e'nte'n" that same winter and all of his Teachings and Trainings also began from that winter on to 2003, when his last remaining Elder finally passed on.

Through all of his life experiences and what he has learnt through his Teachings and Trainings from the Longhouse Leaders/Elders and also what he remembers from the stories of the Elders when he was a child, is what he calls his tools and skills of his work today. So no matter what setting or gathering he is in or what problems an individual or group may be having or working through, he has an understanding of how to work with you towards finding a solution. This is how and why he was trained by so many Elders and he was given many Teachings to help guide our people back to their true heart.

Today he also works in the Urban Community, such as Douglas College and School District #40, to help guide and advise the Urban Resources that work with our children and youth the importance of our Culture and Ceremonies as a tool of helping to enhance the learning abilities of our children and youth in the education system. And help those working in the child and youth care system also how to work with our children, youth and families to strengthen the spirit of the whole family for a safer, healthier and stronger environment for the whole family and community together.

One of his most important messages is that nobody is perfect as the day we were born, we all have some hurt and pain in our lives that has caused us some hurt, pain, embarrassment, shame and anger, that we carry in silence because of those emotional feelings. Today some of us overlook that and are very quick to pass judgment and criticize others for their weaknesses to fight and overcome those sensitive issues, some of us become very strong warriors and help those that need a hand to reach out and help them in their time of need. Se'qwa:y e'nte'n has become the warrior and his hand is always reaching out waiting for someone to ask for help, that's who Se' qwa:y e'nte'n is today...

Both as a Helper and as a Teacher, he does not discriminate against anyone, no matter what culture, race or religion that you come from, he is willing to help anyone, all you have to do is ask. This is his Teaching from his Elders.

Skiljaday (Merle Williams)

My traditional name is Skiljaday and I am from the Yalth Lanas Raven Clan from Haida Gwaii. I was born and raised on Haida Gwaii. I am a traditional Healer and have been practicing for about 15 years. I currently live in Tsawwassen and am mother to 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. I have one Grandson who is 13 years old.

I have been involved in Aboriginal Education all my life, however, I was trained as an Educator right after high school. I was the first University graduate from my community of Old Masset in 1981. I taught school for approximately 24 years and I worked for the BC Teachers Federation for 5 years.

Currently I do contract work for Spirit of the Children working as a Grandmother to help with the work for Children and Families. I work in my own healing Business. It brings me a lot of joy to work with Aboriginal Families. I also work with Douglas University as an elder to the Child and Youth Stream to offer support where needed.

Faculty

Aaron Johannes
Carys Cragg

Carys Cragg is a visitor on Coast Salish territories whose ancestors came to Canada from England, Scotland, Germany, and Algeria. She's been working with children, youth, and families in British Columbia for over 10 years.

Carys holds a BA and MA in Child & Youth Care from the University of Victoria, is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, and has post graduate certificates in Narrative, Cognitive Behavioural, Solution Focused, and Feedback Informed Treatment therapies. She is a creative writer and writes for professional trade magazines. She joins the Aboriginal Stream, while also continuing to teach in the Child & Youth Care degree.

Carys has worked in early childhood, high school, community health, family development, and research settings, most recently with the Ministry of Children & Family Development in Child & Youth Mental Health as an Outreach Clinician and Inner City School Mental Health Consultant, as well as a Continuous Quality Improvement Coach and Mental Health Practice Analyst in Quality Assurance. At the heart of her work is a profound sense of social justice, that we need to care for our most vulnerable in order for our communities to thrive. She believes learning, in all its forms, is the way to get there.

Support staff

Priscilla Bartleman 

More About Aboriginal Child, Family & Community Studies