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Elder Valarie Nicholson

Women’s & Indigenous Health

I am introducing myself in my traditional ways.  I acknowledge the Ancestral Traditional unceded Territories of all the Coast Salish Peoples who’s lands and waters I live work and play on. Honouring my given names; The One the Eagles watch over, given to me 4 days after my arrival on Mother Earth (birth), NoDe WenD (wolf Eyes) gifted to me from Dene family and in ceremony, Auntie from the Torres Straight Islanders.  I am Mi’kmaq, Haida, Gypsy and English descent. 

I am a mother of four boys and a grandmother to four grandsons and one granddaughter. I am a storyteller. I am living with HIV since 2004. In my journey I have experienced homelessness, injection and drug use, food insecurity, living in single room occupancy, and street life.  My todays are working in research at the BC Centre for Excellence at all levels from co- principle investigator, community-based researcher, designing and implementing research, co authoring papers, and bringing my knowledge back to my communities.  I am also an advocate and activist using research words to present at the House of Commons Human Rights Committee in Ottawa and speaking in front of Parliament. I am actively working with the Canadian Coalition to Reform the Criminalization of HIV, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, a Peer Navigator with Positive Living Society of BC, and a trainer with PLDI (Positive Leadership Development Institute).

I am Elder for Camp Moomba, YouthCo , First Directions and Yuusnewas.

In 2018 I received the CAHR Red Ribbon Researchers Award and in 2019 the CANFAR Excellence in Research Award.