Healing of the Canoe (HOC) began as a collaborative project between the Suquamish Tribe, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, and University of Washington. Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam both identified the prevention of youth substance abuse and the need for a sense of cultural belonging and cultural revitalization among youth as primary issues of community concern. The Healing of the Canoe partnership sought to address these issues through a community based, culturally grounded prevention and intervention life skills curriculum for tribal youth that builds on the strengths and resources in the community.
The HOC team has spent the last year developing an adult version of the youth curriculum, with the desire to one day, help all community members mentally, physically, emotionally and culturally.
Learn more about the history of HOC.
Meet the Team
Curriculum Development & Training Manager
Born and raised on the Suquamish reservation, Lisa Jackson has had the privilege of being immersed in the Suquamish culture as her mother is the cultural coordinator for the tribe. As a Suquamish Tribal member, Lisa has taken her knowledge of the culture and devoted free time to teaching other tribal members cedar weaving, Suquamish history and native art designs. Lisa began work with Healing of the Canoe as a Youth Peer Educator at age 16, went to college at age 18 and is now back on the Healing of the Canoe team as the Curriculum Development and Training Manager.
Stella and her two children have been part of the Suquamish community since 2020. Her passion for encouraging and assisting youth has blossomed while working in her current role as as Training Coordinator for Healing of the Canoe. Having lived in several different places throughout her life, Stella has never felt more at home than she does in the Suquamish community. She has flourished with organizing Healing of the Canoe trainings, and assisting organizations with the resources they need to adapt the curriculum to their communities.
Robin Little Wing Sigo, MSW, is a Suquamish Tribal leader and Director of the Suquamish Foundation. After obtaining her MSW from the University of Washington in 2006, she ran the Suquamish Tribe Wellness Center and provided mental health counseling, specializing in dual-disorders and complex trauma. She left this work to serve as Principal Investigator of the Healing of the Canoe research project for 10+ years. She has four children, and considers herself an aunty to children, plants and animals. You’ll usually find her helping others tell their stories, fighting for justice, and petting cats.
Kate k̓yʔk̓ablu Neayuq Ahvakana is suq̓ʷabš a Suquamish tribal member and Iñupiaq. Manager for the Tribe’s Suquamish Family & Friends Center (ʔiišədalʔtxʷ ʔə ti suq̓ʷabš), Kate coordinates programs that bridge culture, education and art in the Suquamish Community. In addition to working directly with Tribal Members, Kate serves on the Cultural Committee board for the Tribe. She also facilitates with the Healing of the Canoe Project (HOC), and is involved with the Suquamish Song and Dance. An artist by trade, Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in art from UNLV and spends her free time practicing art and being with her family as a mother of two.
Albie Lawrence is Tlingit, Tsimshian and Filipino, she is Killer Whale Clan from Metlakatla and an enrolled member of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Albie has been married to Nigel Lawrence since 1998 and they have three beautiful children and one adorable granddaughter. Albie received her BSW from Eastern Michigan University in 2009 and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington in 2011. Albie is an experienced grant writer and program developer and has been a part of the Healing of the Canoe team since 2009 as a facilitator and trainer.
Nigel Lawrence is a Suquamish Tribal Member and Healing of the Canoe Facilitator / Trainer / co-author. He’s been married to Albie Lawrence since 1998, they have three children (Jazmine, Dio and Amaya) and one granddaughter (Ruhee). Nigel has 8 years’ experience on Suquamish Tribal Council and six years as the director of the Marion Forsman-Boushie Early Learning Center. He started working with the Healing of the Canoe project in 2010, facilitating classes at the Suquamish Tribal school, now called Chief Kitsap Academy. Nigel has a bachelor of Business Administration from Eastern Michigan University and is working on his Master of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma.
Dennis Donovan is a Professor Emeritus, now retired from the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, where he served for over 25 years as the Director of the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute. He was the Principal Investigator, working with teams from the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribes, on the grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities that funded the development, evaluation, implementation, and dissemination of the Healing of the Canoe program. He lives in Suquamish and continues his involvement with HOC.
Lisette Austin was part of the original Healing of the Canoe project, joining the University of Washington team in 2006. During her 12 years as research coordinator, she supported the development of the Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam curricula. Lisette has been an HOC trainer since 2013, and has organized and facilitated trainings in Tribal communities and organizations across Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Along with her continued involvement with HOC, she is a freelance web designer. Lisette enjoys traveling, dance and podcasting. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son.
Vashti Langford is a Healing of the Canoe Program Coordinator for the Cowlitz Tribe. She received a BA in Social Science from Ashford University. She has been employed with Cowlitz since 2015, working with Tribal Elders and their HOC advisory committee to adapt the curriculum. She has facilitated the HOC curriculum with over 500 youth in schools and juvenile justice systems within Cowlitz, Clark and Lewis counties. She has been an HOC trainer since 2018, sharing her skills and knowledge. Her passion for building resiliency and hope is also reflected through volunteering, fundraising, and working as a Guardian Ad litem with Cowlitz County Courts.
Kali Chargualaf is an enrolled member of the Suquamish Tribe as well as being of Chamorro lineage. Kali is a Healing of the Canoe program alumni who began learning the curriculum as a student in high school back in 2010. Since then, she has participated in HOC in various capacities as a learner, panelist, conference and meeting attendee, and now a junior trainer. Kali has earned her Bachelors in American Indian Studies from Western Washington University in 2018 and her Master’s in Education from the University of Washington in 2022. With experience working with and for Tribal people, she continues to be an active member in the community and has served her tribe for over a decade.
Vincent Chargualaf is a Suquamish tribal member who works at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde as a grant coordinator. The Healing of the Canoe curriculum has made a significant impact on his life by encouraging him to get culturally involved with his tribe’s practices and traditions, and giving him the opportunity and confidence to continue those practices in the community he now calls his second home. Vincent hopes that your time with the HOC team can help make an impact on your community as it has in his own personal life.
Crystal Purcell is a Suquamish tribal member who also hails from the Blackfeet tribe. Crystal currently works for the Suquamish Tribe and is a proud mother of three children. She participated in the Suquamish Tribe’s Healing of the Canoe curriculum program when she was a teenager, and is thrilled to now be part of the Healing of the Canoe training team.