What is the best way to spend a Saturday in Fort McMurray?
Walking my dog, Sir Charles Barkley, around the pond at Borealis Park.
For 20 years Melissa Herman has called Fort McMurray home. The 31-year-old is a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Education and Awareness Facilitator with the Athabasca Tribal Council, and an active member of the community.
As someone who starts meaningful conversations about difficult topics, all while honouring lost lives, Melissa helps plan and organize vigils for missing and murdered Indigenous women, and supports the families of these women. She is the administrator of No More Stolen Sisters - Treaty 8 - Sisters in Wood Buffalo, and is a board member with the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre.
It’s clear that the beauty of Treaty 8 territory resonates with Melissa. “I make new favourite memories every year on the shores of Little Big Lake outside of Janvier,” she shares, “where I fall asleep with a rifle to the sounds of wolves howling, animals splashing, and clear skies with no cell reception.”
For Melissa, being a part of this community means honouring her family’s roots; roots, she says, that are deeper than the Athabasca.
“My hope for Fort McMurray is for us to grow happier and healthier so that our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s, grandchildren can enjoy what our region has to offer.