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.