The 2017 summer newsletter has just been added to the website – because of a lack of space on page 5, we wanted to share with you Nicole and Felicia’s full messages here:

Felicia Gordon:

My name is Felicia Gordon of the Wolf Clan, descendent of the Maggie Broeren Family. I’ve been taking course since 2011 and had started courses for the Office Administration program in 2014, however, I never officially started the program until 2015 when I’d a set plan of graduation for 2017. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy for me because it was not. This goal had many challenges for me given my difficult upbringing and state of wellbeing at the time but I thought to myself, “if I wait any longer for a good time, it may never come.” So, with a leap of faith and all of my supports backing me, I went for it and hit each challenge head on. Like most students attending the college, each has their family things to deal with along with work and domestic relationships to maintain. I was one of those people who did everything to prepare myself and for some reason I was being tested to the max. Whatever it was along the way that could happen did happen, leaving me with many difficult decisions to be considered. Time after time, no matter how daunting or intimidating the situation was, I put my head down with my supporters and together we found a way to make things okay again. Along this thorny trail to my success was my dear friend and mentor Annie Bernard. I went to her often and with many things that would have just taken the wind right out of my sails. She would sit with me and talk about her life’s lesson, share her stories and when we were done finding what is was that I needed to do to be better my situation or problem then, I would go off and try to follow her advice. Easier said than done, however, I did manage. Annie and I had many discussions about personal growth, healthy relationship, addiction, personal health and success and with each thing that I was trying to do I felt like I was doing everything all at once. So feeling like I had no other option if I wanted to become successful, I had to challenge all of these aspects of my life in that moment. I couldn’t do this on my own so, I reached out to Annie a lot; I also reached out to TKC staff,  friends, family and community members who supported me through my education. I never expected to come so far in the time that I did. Now, I am a graduated certified Administrative Assistant employed here at the TKC as your new Enrollment Coordinator/ Administrative Assistant. Through everything, I feel like I finally got both feet on the ground; my first goal is to have each citizens’ file be up-to-date and complete. I plan to use all of these skills to make you all proud once more when you will all be able to finally view the TKC family history and ancestral lineages with ease at the click of a button. If I can do all of my soul searching, healing and awareness of self and actions, while acquiring an education in 5 years then, just imaging what I can do for TKC in another 5 years to come.

Nicole Smith:

Tu shat k’e uye,

Taa’an man kwatsan iche

Taa’an man ninje

Dahklewedi iche

Asua Shan tlen uye na

Asia Elijah Smith uye na ye Morris MacIntosh uye na

Ama Kwakatelma uye

Ata Gordon Harvey uye ye Larry Taylor uye.

K’u tch’ an ke;

My name is Nicole Smith

I am from Lake Laberge (People of the flat lake place)

I live in Lake Laberge

I am Dahklewedi clan

My Grandmother is Irene Smith

My Grandfather’s are Elijah Smith and Morris MacIntosh

My mom is Linda Harvey

My Dads are Gordon Harvey and Larry Taylor

With that introduction, I can tell you that it took a while for me to get used to saying who I am, in the Language, (Dan k’e). My mentor Tlak shan, David Bunbury has had to repeat words to me many times before I get the proper pronunciations of certain words in dan k’e. It has been three and 1/2 years of learning my language, teaching the language and being mentored to get where I am today. My grandparents did not speak to me in the language due to the hardships they had gone through growing up. We are still dealing with the effects of Residential schools to this day, however I believe our generation has prevailed. We have learnt our culture, language and who we were through those of us who are dedicated to passing this culture on to our future generations. It was 4 years ago when I moved home from Teslin that I realized what I really wanted to do. It was then that I applied to take the Native Language Instructor course at Yukon College. I have been now completed my certificate for this program but I will not stop there. This fall I will be going forward with my training to receive my diploma. Once I am finished my Language Instructor diploma I have two choices for myself. I can continue with my language teacher training the University of Fairbanks to receive a degree. Or I can pursue my Masters of Education by continuing my Bachelor of Education Degree. For me the point of all my learning is to be a keeper of our language and education to bring to our future generations. Shaw nithan to my First Nation and family for assisting me with all my educational life goals.