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“Our backyard is a recreation and cultural gem to many that reside here.”

Apart from the times she left the RMWB to study, Melody has spent her whole life in our region. Raised in Fort Chipewyan, Melody has worked for the Mikisew Cree First nations for the last 15 years, first as an Environmental Coordinator, then as the Director of Government and Industry Relations. Her love of her land is obvious the more you speak to her and her commitment even extends to the national arena, she stood for the NDP in the last federal election.

Growing up, Melody faced down more than her share of prejudices as she told Girls Inc. when they nominated her as a woman of inspiration. “I had all those stereotypes as a single teenage mother. ‘You’re probably not going to graduate high school, you’re probably not going to get to university’. “And now I’m finishing my Masters degree, and my daughter is at Grant MacEwan University.”

Melody is interested in reclamation of the land, and responsible use of the land for all the people of the community. Her balance in teachings of both traditional knowledge and western science has become Melody’s key strength in her professional career. Her job is to oversee and manage complex and challenging environmental, social and cultural issues that the Mikisew Cree face. She is filled with hope, though. When asked what is the best part of our community, she told us, “It’s the people and the beautiful Boreal Forest! I have so many friends and family that have always made Fort McMurray a true home for me for the past 30 years. I love being out on the rivers, lakes and trails, many don’t realize that our boreal forest is one of the most ecological diverse regions in the world! We have one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas, a magical patterned fen, large intact sand dunes and a heritage river that is great to just float on to the Snye. Our backyard is a recreation and cultural gem to the many that reside here.”