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Profession: Indigenous Relations
Age: 31 •Years in Wood Buffalo: 6

Nosisim, kaya, whikac, wan’kiskisih itiy ohtotiyin.

“Grandchild, never forget where you came from.” Those are the words of 31-year-old Elena Gould’s mosom, Harvey Gladue, and words that she lives by.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Manager of First Nation & Métis Nation Relations, Elena is a proud member of the Bigstone Cree Nation.

She is currently completing her second degree, a Bachelor of Management of Indigenous Nations and Organizations, and has studied and worked with the University of Alberta as both a research assistant in the Cree Language Retention Program, and as a seminar leader in the Faculty of Native Studies.

As a resident of Wood Buffalo for the past six years, Elena has been named a Woman of Inspiration by Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta; she has been awarded the University of Alberta Students Union Rising Star Award for her volunteer work, and the Adrian Hope Award for academic achievement.

Elena volunteers her time at the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre. She also fundraises for the Centre of Hope’s 24 Hour Challenge since 2014. She is active with the Fort Chipewyan Animal Rescue, Hues for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity, and Girls Inc. Elena is also a co-founder of No More Stolen Sisters - Wood Buffalo.

When Elena has free time, she enjoys camping, fishing, and hunting with her husband, Ralph, and their dogs, and values spending time with Wood Buffalo residents, visiting the Athabasca River’s Grand Rapids, walking the Athabasca Sand Dunes, and flying to Fort Chipewyan.

Elena’s passion and commitment to the First Nation and Métis and Non-Status communities is undeniable, and that is just one of the reasons she has been named one of Your McMurray Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50.

IN HER OWN WORDS:“We have the most welcoming rural communities in all of Canada. When we fled, the Indigenous and rural communities welcomed us with open arms. Kinana’skomitina’wa’w (Thank you).”