Theresa’s traditional name is Thlut’as aksup. Theresa became the Hereditary Chief of the Ḥaw’eḥtak’amłatḥ house in October 2022. This is her first term as an appointed ḥaw̓iiḥ Councillor Representative for the Huu-ay-aht Executive Council, a modern treaty nation located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Theresa is honored to have been chosen to be that representative. 

Theresa’s Father Ha’wehtuu-u (Benson Nookemis), Hereditary chief of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, preceded Theresa as head of the Ḥaw’eḥtak’amłatḥ house. Theresa’s Mother is the late Gertrude (Mack) Nookemis of the Toquaht Nation in Ucluelet BC. Theresa’s grandparents on her father’s side are the late Edward and Mable Nookemis. On her late mother’s side, her grandmother is Sarah Tutube from the Toquaht Nation. Theresa is the youngest of three daughters, Darlene Halvorson being the oldest, and Patricia Dennis being the middle, along with many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. 

Theresa was raised in the Oceanside area of Vancouver Island. Theresa grew up on the MV Theresa N. She also started fishing it alongside her Father Ha’wehtuu-u from the ages of 12-19. She then moved to Victoria BC where she resided for the next 14 years. She received her Banking and Financial Diploma, then moved back to Oceanside, where she then received her waterworks tickets, and Level 3 Occupational First Aid Ticket, as well as meeting her partner, now of 17 years.

Theresa also worked with a Construction Company in Parksville for 15 years in an administrative capacity. Theresa still resides in Parksville where she and her partner raise their son Benson Nookemus. Theresa also has a daughter Alannah Johnston who lives in Port Alberni. More recently Theresa has worked in Senior Care homes. She enjoyed working with seniors, including seniors with dementia, and was able to build trusting relationships with the people she was caring for.  

Theresa strongly believes that commitment to the Nation’s sacred principles of ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔaluk (Taking care of), and Hisuk ma c̓awak (Everything is One), together with a strong respect for the land, animals and resources, will result in a healthy community and high standards within Huu-ay-aht’s ḥahuułi. 

Theresa looks forward to working with the Executive Council. She believes they are a strong team that will be able to support and contribute to a healthy and prosperous Huu-ay-aht First Nation for current and future generations.