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Panel Discussion: Indigenous Identity in the Outdoors

Join us for an evening of exploring identity in the outdoors. Sharing Indigenous perspectives and experiences, this panel will dive deeper into how identity can be inseparable from land and how land shapes Indigenous identity.

This discussion will be moderated by Myia Antone and Sandy Ward from Indigenous Women Outdoors. We will listen to Curtis Ratray (Edziza Trails), Candace Campo (Talasay Tours), Micheli Oliver, Tsimka Martin and Chelsie McCutcheon (Indigenous Life Sport Academy), as they dive into their own identities, and their belonging in the outdoors. This event will initiate a conversation about how identity and land is interconnected, and we invite you to think of your own identity and how it relates to the lands you come from and the lands you are on.

Viewing Info

This panel was part of the VIMFF 2021.

Donate to Indigenous Women Outdoors

IWO helps Indigenous women living on unceded Sḵwx̱ú7mesh, Líl̓wat, səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories connect with the land and each other by creating safe opportunities that eliminate barriers to getting into nature. Learn more: www.indigenouswomenoutdoors.ca.

You will also have the opportunity to donate during the ticket purchase process.

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myia antone indigenous women outdoors vimff

Myia Antone (Indigenous Women Outdoors)

Myia (she/her/hers) is currently a student in an advanced Skwx̱wú7mesh sníchim (Squamish language) program. Being 1 of ~40 speakers means she carries a lot of responsibility revitalizing and passing down her language.

She recently founded the nonprofit Indigenous Women Outdoors, to break down barriers that exist for Indigenous women and folx to get out on the land and try new outdoor activities. She is passionate about (re)connecting Indigenous peoples to their lands and roots because it allows an opportunity for healing.

In her spare time, you can typically find Myia trying not to fall on her skateboard, skiing or biking in her mountains, medicine harvesting or swimming in the ocean.

sandy ward indigenous women outdoors vimff

Sandy Ward (Indigenous Women Outdoors)

Sandy Ward is a member of the Lil’wat Nation, and an avid snowboarder, mountain biker and climber. She has been snowboarding for 20 years and has been a competitive halfpipe rider, snowboard instructor and backcountry enthusiast. During the winter season, when not teaching snowboarding in the resort, you can find Sandy in the backcountry on her traditional territory.

Sandy got her start in snowboarding as a member of the First Nations Snowboard Team, in its first year of operation. Since getting her instructor certification she has volunteered her time as a coach for the FNST recreational program.

Recently, Sandy has partnered with Indigenous Women Outdoors to form a Backcountry Mentorship Program in hopes to break down barriers and encourage more Indigenous Women to reconnect with the land and get involved in outdoor recreational activities.
Through her work with IWO and FNST, Sandy has continually shown her devotion to ensuring Indigenous peoples can get involved in the outdoors.

vimff panel discussion indigenous identity in the outdoors curtis rattray headshot

Curtis Ratray (Edziza Trails)

Curtis Rattray is a member of the Crow clan and Nalokoteen (end of the ridge nation) of the Tahltan Nation and his Tahltan name is ‘Nenh glun adz’. His mother is Tahltan and his father is Scottish-Canadian.

An experienced backcountry leader, hiker and camper and has twenty plus years’ experience on Tahltan territory. Curtis currently owns and operates his own business called Edziza Trails and provides guide aboriginal adventure tours, Wholistic Indigenous Leadership Development and capacity building services.

He also is a community leader who has focused on land-based leadership development for Indigenous youth. He co-founded a Tahltan NGO that facilitates land-based youth leadership, community-led monitoring, documenting Tahltan knowledge, and developing climate change adaption strategies through food sovereignty and traditional way of life.

Curtis was the elected Chairman of the Tahltan Central Council and was responsible for representing the Tahltan Nation on the reconciliation of inherent Tahltan sovereign rights with the assertion of Crown sovereignty.

vimff panel discussion indigenous identity in the outdoors candace campo headshot

Candace Campo (Talasay Tours)

Candace, ancestral name xets’emits’a (to always be there), is a Shíshálh (Sechelt) member born and raised on the Sunshine Coast. Today, Candace and her family live in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh community in the village of Xwemelch’stn. Candace started her company Talaysay Tours in 2002 and provides indigenous, cultural and outdoor experiences and events to international and local guests. Trained as an anthropologist and school teacher, sharing outdoor education and culture was a dream made possible by growing up on the land and being taught the stories and history of her people by her parents and elders in the community. Candace enjoys the independence of operating her business while making educational, land-based learning films and digital stories. Her current project includes editing a novel in the hopes to make it into a feature film one day.

micheli oliver indigenous women outdoors vimff

Micheli Oliver

Micheli Oliver is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder where she studied Geography and Indigenous studies with an emphasis on forest and fire ecology centering sacred fire practice. As a person of mixed ethnicity, Micheli has always seen herself at the intersection of ‘worlds’. From the academic to traditional knowledge of her people to the outdoor industry and Indigenous connection to place— Micheli plans to build bridges.

She comes from the plains of the Piikani Blackfeet peoples, the woodlands of the Absentee Shawnee peoples, the mountains of Northern Italy and the shore of Southern Ireland. As a person from four directions, she plans to tell stories from four directions as well. As such, Micheli is a photographer and storyteller of Native people all over Turtle Island. She additionally works to reclaim maps and is the research director at Native Land Digital— a Canadian not for profit mapping Indigenous lands.

To make relation with land, Micheli had been skiing since she was three. She is also an ambassador for Natives Outdoors where she moves through Native land as a climber, mountain biker, hunter and fisher. Again, she hopes to add representation in the outdoor industry, so that Native kids will have bridges into a world where there usually isn’t space for them.

chelsie mccutcheon vimff

Chelsie McCutcheon

Chelsie McCutcheon is a Wet’suwet’en woman from the community of Witset, located in Northern BC Canada. A mother, wife and an Indigenous outdoor leader, Chelsie leads groups in snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, skateboarding and yoga.

Trailblazing a pathway for Indigenous youth and women by sparking a passion for the Mountain in a healing way, Chelsie has 21 years of experience in the snowboard industry. 16 of those years have been dedicated to the Indigenous Life Sport Academy based in Whistler BC. Chelsie will also be exploring the backcountry with Indigenous Women Outdoors, a mountain mentorship program based in Squamish BC.

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Tsimka Martin

Tsimka was raised in the Tla-o-qui-aht village of Esowista surrounded by giant spruce trees and open ocean. Growing up nourished by the powerful ecology of her Nuuchahnulth homeland and culture, Tsimka began working in educational cultural tourism, and eventually opened a company, T’ashii Paddle School, offering tours in dugout cedar canoes carved by her father, master carver Joe Martin.

Guiding tours by canoe helped shape her young adult life and Tsimka developed leadership, public speaking, and facilitation skills, as well as developing her own training program for young indigenous apprentice guides.

After 7 years of operation out of Tofino, she sold the company to Ahous Business Corp, the neighbouring First Nation. Tsimka now works with Tla-o-qui-aht Nation on Nuu-chah-nulth language revitalization. Advocating for ecosystem and community health are important to her. The roots of our language and our health can be found in the landscape. Hišukʔišc̓awak -everything is interconnected. The land sustains our culture as a people.

Tsimka also enjoys creating music which: https://tsimka.bandcamp.com/album/nuuksiik


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