About

Author, Speaker & Creator

Tasha Spillett (she/her/hers) draws her strength from both her Inninewak (Cree) and Trinidadian bloodlines. She is a celebrated educator, poet, and emerging scholar. Tasha is most heart-tied to contributing to community-led work that centres on land and water defence, and the protection of Indigenous women and girls. Tasha is currently working on her Ph.D. in Education through the University of Saskatchewan, where she holds a Vanier Canada Award.

In her work as a doctoral student, she is weaving in her cultural identity, and commitment to community to produce a body of research that echoes Indigenous women’s demands for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. Her work is a continuation of the resistance against the assault of colonialism that she has inherited.

An active member of Manitoba’s Indigenous community, Tasha is a ceremony woman and a traditional singer.

In her work as an educator, Tasha makes every effort to infuse her cultural knowledge into her teaching philosophy and practice to support the positive cultural identities of Indigenous students and to strengthen relationships between all communities. Tasha acknowledges her unique opportunity and responsibility to create learning environments that are culturally responsive, and foster belonging for Indigenous students, students of colour, and families.

Tasha has experience working in the school system as a classroom teacher, and she is also asked to work with educators on increasing their understandings of Indigenous peoples. She has taught an Introduction to Aboriginal Education course at the University of Winnipeg for teacher candidates. Tasha is also actively involved in the development of Indigenous Education policies and curriculum and shares her traditional knowledge and educational pedagogy with school divisions and the community.

To honour her responsibility to the community, Tasha shares her cultural knowledge and teaching background beyond the classroom. She has served as a mentor in the Sisters Circle, which is an after-school program for Indigenous girls, that is focused on promoting cultural identity, positive self-esteem and academic success. Tasha was also a member of the Manito Ahbee Festival board of governors. In her capacity with Manito Ahbee she helped to shape the annual Education Days, which brings youth, Indigenous community leaders and cultural knowledge keepers together to learn and share with the intent of preserving Indigenous ways of being.

Tasha was also the chair of the Miss Manito Ahbee Youth Ambassador gathering in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. She is actively involved in other initiatives to ensure that Indigenous women and girls are safe in our communities.

Interview

I always loved learning, but didn’t always love school. I think that this is a common experience for a lot of Indigenous and racialized students.  There were many critical points in my own school experience, where I felt like I didn’t belong or like I wasn’t smart enough to be there. I remember during my first academic advising appointment at the University of Winnipeg, I was told that I shouldn’t plan to complete my B.A/B.Ed program within the 5 years because I would probably end up getting pregnant. Sometimes, racism hits you like a freight train and you don’t have a minute to collect yourself. I wasn’t able to respond to the ignorance at that particular time, but I’ve spent my career dismantling the intersecting forms of oppression that create it.
All the young people that I’m blessed to have in my life are my daily inspiration. I am fully committed to creating places of learning that are worthy of them. It’s not enough to say that ‘youth are our future’, we need to do everything we can to prepare them for keeping our Nations going.
The choice that I’ve made to center the teaching that have been passed on to me in ceremony, is what has carried me to the place I’m at now. It’s also ceremony, that connects me to a circle of people who help me along the path that I’ve chosen. The truth is, I haven’t been able to accomplish anything beautiful in my life on my own. The people that I love, make all things possible.
The gifts that we were given aren’t for our individual benefit but for that of the collective, so share them generously with one another. It’s all of our responsibility to work towards becoming good Ancestors.

Features

2020
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2018

January 2018

Moon Time Warrior

2017
2016
2015

March 2015

APTN News

2014

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