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Aurora Hardy

Youth Facilitator and Co-Founder

My name is Aurora Hardy and I am 19 years old, and I am a member of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and of the Wolf Clan. At a Potlatch Ceremony I was gifted my Northern Tutchone Name, Mbäw Chä́na after Hilda Sam. My great-grandparents are Mary Sam and John McGundy. My Grandparents are Linda and Allan Waugh and Theresa and Arthur Hardy. My parents are Dawn Waugh and Derek Hardy. I was born in Whitehorse, but I moved to Calgary at a young age. Living away from my community for most of my life, I felt disconnected from my culture. I moved back to Whitehorse in 2014 and completed my last two years of high school. Since graduating, I have been working as a Communications Officer for our Nation. This September I will be starting my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Calgary.
 
Being a youth facilitator has forced me to break out of my comfort zone and has helped me to grow as a person. I feel like through this work, I have reconnected with my community, met new people, gained phenomenal experiences, and become a happier and healthier person. 

 

Teagyn Vallevand

Youth Facilitator and Co-Founder

My name is Teagyn Vallevand and I am 21 years old, I am a member of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and I belong to the Crow Clan. My great-grandparents were Johnny and Julia Joe of the Marsh Lake region, my grandparents are Diane Balmforth and the late Gerald Balmforth, the late Virgina and Lloyd Vallevand, and my parents are Roxanne and Wayne Vallevand.

Growing up in Whitehorse, I did not have a strong connection to my indigenous identity and felt "lost" because of the shame I felt for being First Nations. After graduating high school, I started to educate myself to understand who I am and my roots, and I was finally able to let go of the shame I carried and start reclaiming my identity and culture. In 2014, I was adopted into the Ganaxteidi Crest (Raven House) with my mother and sibling through a potlatch ceremony, and gifted my Tlingit name, Aatagwéix'i. 

I am passionate about empowering youth and strengthening my community. I hope that by reclaiming my identity and pride, and supporting our communities, other youth will feel encouraged to do the same. I also hope that by educating people on First Nations rights, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples will come together towards reconciliation.

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Cheyenne Bradley

youth Assistant - Blanket exercise

My name is Cheyenne Bradley. I am a Kwanlin Dun First Nation citizen, I am 21 and of the wolf clan. I have lived in Whitehorse, Yukon all my life and I am proud to live on the traditional territory of my nation. I am currently working on my degree in the Bachelor of Science in the Northern Environmental and Conservation Sciences at Yukon College. The reason why I love the Yukon is because I am a outdoors person. My hobbies are sledding, hiking and walking. My passion is to protect the environment because it is up to us as people to have a say in what happens to the land. 

I've been helping Aurora and Teagyn with the blanket exercise for awhile now, and I think that doing blanket exercises are important so that we can educate people on First Nation history. It's also important so that we can help other youth with reconciliation because they are the next generation leaders, and we need to set the example for them so we can move forward as a nation.

 

Carissa Waugh

youth Assistant -Blanket Exercise

Hello my name is Carissa Waugh, I am 23 years old and part of the Crow Clan. My Northern Tutchone name is Eke Ewe. I am Taku River Tlingit First Nation, born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon. My grandparents are the late Linda and Allan Waugh, Shirley Reeves and the late Maurice Reeves. My parents are Charlene and Charles Waugh. 

During the summer I like to spend my free time on the land. My family has a fish camp down the Yukon River called Atsua Ku (Grandma's Camp). Growing up we were always on the boat going up and down the river, picking mushrooms across the river, working in the garden. We have become a busy family but we always try to make it down to camp to set the net, have dinner, water the garden, etc. 

I've been asked to help with the Blanket Exercises by Aurora and Teagyn a few times, and I've been a participant a few times. I am always happy to help because I find it so educational, I learn something new every time. Residential School was never talked about in my family, I learned about it in school in Tofino when I was in grade 3, and in high school we skimmed over the history in one or two classes. Being able to see the history, the visual from the blankets, helps everyone picture our history. I wish I had these around when I was still in school. 

My favorite part of the Exercise is at the end when everyone shares their feelings and what they've learned. I almost always hear someone say "I didn't know about this certain part, it's opened my eyes." I feel the Exercise can and will help with the Reconciliation in Canada. 

 
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Stormy Bradley

Youth assistant -Blanket Exercise 

Dänojà Zho my name is Stormy Bradley, I’m 26 years old and born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and a member of the Crow Clan. I have a 6 year old daughter named Ava who I love so much and am very proud of.

Living and growing up in Whitehorse, away from my nation of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in has had its challenges for me when it comes to culture. For a longtime I felt out of place being a First Nations person, which really affected my well-being. Today, I feel proud of who I am, because I am more connected. I like to bead in my spare time, and I try to attend as many cultural events as I can. It's important for me to uphold my identity for myself and for my daughter, because I want her to know her heritage and feel proud and connected.

Participating in one of the blanket exercises Teagyn and Aurora facilitated was really a profound moment for me, for the first time I felt like I truly understood why things are the way they are today. It is a privilege for me to now be able to assist with them, because I retain more and more information each time I am a part of one. I think it’s really powerful for us as young women to take on this role and facilitate them for the public, I hope the education system starts implementing these more because they are so beneficial to understanding our history.

 

The success of one indigenous woman is inspiration for another. Know this.
— G.M. Davis

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