Community, a close-knit family and strong traditional practices are major factors on Audrey Redcrow’s list of life values.
Born and raised on Treaty 8 territory in Fort McKay, Redcrow and her three siblings were raised by her single-widowed mother with help from her grandparents.
“We were a close-knit family, always helping each other out as mom was always working to provide for the family. I was very close to my grandparents growing up,” she said.
Redcrow recalls her summers spent with her grandparents at the trapline to prepare pelts and scrape animal hides as some of her best days as they taught her about her culture and traditions. It’s something she said she’s proud to pass on to her two boys and two girls.
Dancing is also one of the many traditions as she was one of the first members to become part of the Northwind Dancers group, which was formed in 1986.
“My grandmother sewed my first fancy shawl regalia,” she said. “After my grandparents passed, I realized that it was up to me to bring back the traditions and carry them forward.”
After having her children at an early age, Redcrow started a position in administration for the Fort McKay Group of Companies. Eleven years later, she transferred to the Fort McKay First Nation as Cultural Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator.
In her position, she plans the cultural activities and special events like the annual Winterfest, Treaty Days and Pow Wow. Since 2014, Redcrow has also coordinated the Fort McKay Northwind Dancers and Drummers troupe. She also volunteers teaching Pow Wow dance, and Pow Wow Fit, and sharing traditional knowledge at the Friendship Centre in Fort McMurray and Fort McKay, as well as at many of the schools. She also sits in at the RCOM (Rural Communities Outreach Meetings).
“Being a part of this community means feeling proud of where I come from, feeling welcomed, feeling like I belong here, getting the support when needed, and just being connected,” she shared. “My roots are planted here and I love this place.”