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“Smudge. Don’t judge.”

She’s a spiritual leader, role model and mentor for the youth in the Fort Chipewyan community. Tanya advocates for the youth in the community, makes anti-bullying videos, believing that prevention is always better than cure.

“First I healed myself, then it spreads out from there, to my children and the children of the community. The children are a gift from God, and we need to help them to help break the cycle of violence of addiction and violence in our community.”

Tanya feels her own story helps others. “I try to inspire,” she said. I plant seeds and help them grow.” She does it for real as well, making healing medicines from the land for herself and her family. She sees the community is changing. “The kids have things to do now; organized sport, game nights, movie nights. I truly believe we are winning the war against the cycle of addictions and violence.”

Tanya works with Helping Hands, working for the mental well being of the children in the schools, something she loves doing. She is also on the ACFN education committee and Lake Athabasca Youth Council.

“I love Fort Chipewyan,” she said. “Come and visit. You’ll be most welcome.” We may take you up on that, Tanya.