Hlth kingaa (Sandy Gagnon)

Meet Sandy Gagnon. 

A mother, a sister, an auntie and a nonnie (grandmother), Gagnon is from the Tsiij Gitanaay clan and carries the name Hlth kingaa, meaning “shiny musical instrument.” 

A jackie-of-many-trades, her longest running community service lies in her hair salon. For almost three decades Gagnon has been shaving, shorning and styling do’s of the good people of Gaw Tlagee (Old Masset) and beyond. Since then Sandy’s Styling has become a zen sanctuary for yogis on the north end, and a tattoo shop for those brave enough to use their bodies as canvas. 

Though perhaps best known for her hair magic, since opening Sandy’s Seafood food truck in 2018, Gagnon has developed a complimentary reputation for delicious food. Now parked at the end of Raven Avenue in Gaw Tlagee, the food truck lies in wait for the pandemic to abate, and a renewed certainty in clientele traffic. Like many entrepreneurs, Gagnon decided to put a pin in her small business last spring. 

Food dreams on pause, Gagnon hasn’t been. Her ravenstail and cedar weaving, beading, sewing, and fundraising have kept her busy and inspired. Finding solace in her craft, it’s been a sentiment echoed by artists across the islands - without art the past year, loath to think where we’d be! Her woven hats, beaded earrings, and lovingly sewn and assembled regalia each hold a distinct beauty and essence of healing through cultural connection and intentional creation. 

Sandy does such a good job of filling her bucket through her personal endeavours, she is always overflowing with support for others. In this, she is also well known in her community. An example being the speedy acquisition through donation, of beautiful auction items such as a bentwood box, locally made golden jewelry and a cedar hat, all sold to fundraise for a friend in dire straits. Such efforts have become her most tell-tale trait for many who know her. A thorough love of meaningful endeavours and output, and ones that ultimately serve the larger community as a whole.