My ancestral name is Ta7talíya. I share my name with my daughter and my great great great grandmother. We are Squamish, anglicized from Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. I was born in the village of Eslha7án which is legally called Mission Indian Reserve #1, on land now called North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I was raised in a big family, close to my grandparents and connected to our land through hunting, fishing, ceremony and play.
My English name is Michelle Lorna Nahanee. I have an MA in Communication and wrote a research-creation thesis called Decolonizing Identity: Indian Girl to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Matriarch. I am an intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential Schools. I don’t speak my language but I proudly volunteer on the board of Kwi Awt Stelmexw to support Squamish Language resurgence. My consulting work, through my company Nahanee Creative, is focused on re-storying through graphic design, writing, consulting and teaching.
I’m married to Lloyd Attig, he’s Plains Cree, and a wellness coach who is committed to sharing medicine wheel teachings with everyone, they’re powerful and keep us balanced. We deliver Decolonizing Practices workshops together. My workbook Decolonize First is a response to two years of workshops, witnessing what is needed by supporting thousands of professionals to ready for the ongoing deep unlearning personal work of decolonizing.
I have many Elders, teachers and accomplices who I am grateful for. I’ve been supported by immense care that I hope is reciprocal. I try to uphold our sacred laws including Chenchenstway, lifting each other up. It’s become a big part of my life through the decolonizing game I designed Sínulkhay & Ladders.
I am committed to using my skills to catalyse social change. I won an award of excellence in diversity & inclusion from the City of Vancouver for my unique approach. I was surprised and warmed by that!
Chen kw’enmantumi (With thanks),
Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee