Born in 1946, Alex is a proud member of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations in Kingcome Inlet. At age seven, he was taken away from family and community and became a seven-year product and survivor of St. Michaels Residential School in Alert Bay. Today, he maintains a strong family foundation with his wife Nella, daughter Natasha, grandsons Gigalis and Braden and great-grandson Marcus. His strong cultural background has been reinforced through his father Henry Nelson’s Chieftainship and by the Nelsons’ past four Potlatches. Alex is also a Hamatsa Cedar Man Dancer.
Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Leisure Studies from the University of Victoria. He is an Elder and Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council, and helped create the then-Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Strategy for BC (the first strategy of its kind in Canada). Alex continues his work with youth through the T-birds youth soccer program.
Past Executive Director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Alex is a founder of the Aboriginal Sports & Recreation Association of BC. He is also a founder of the National Aboriginal Sports Circle and was the first Chair and three-time President of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council. He has served as Aboriginal Team BC Chef de Mission for the 1993 and 1995 North American Indigenous Games, Board Member of the Native Participation Committee for the 1994 Commonwealth Games and member of the Minister's Sport & Recreation Advisory Council of BC. One of his greatest and proudest achievements was helping organize the 1997 NAIG in Victoria which drew over 5,000 athletes, 3,000 cultural performers and 2,500 volunteers on a budget of only $2.5 million!
Alex is humbled and honoured to have been inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, then the BC Sports Hall of Fame. He received a UVIC distinguished Alumni award in 2019.
Alex knows that connection, ceremony and a sense of belonging are important to children so he has dedicated his life to helping youth as a founder of the Kwaguilth Urban Suicide Prevention & Intervention Group, where he has conducted community and self-help suicide prevention workshops for 18 years. He also lectures on Indigenous issues to universities, high schools, government bodies, communities and at various conferences. He is long-time event facilitator and Emcee a founding member of the Called to Action Collaborative.
PO Box 24 Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2P2, CA