Congratulations on winning the Chief David Crowchild Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award, for 2020! How does it feel to be recognized by the community for your work?
Tyra: Thank you. I feel appreciative that I am being recognized for the things I’m doing. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real, the things I’m doing now. I’m grateful for the work I get to do, and I feel proud of myself, which is something I’ve never felt before.
You’ve been on the Bridges team for a couple years now, doing things like organizing the girl’s group in Siksika, creating a new tutoring program called Treaty 7 Tutor Connect, helping to plan the A Youth Explosion event, and helping to start the Indigenous Rising Treaty 7 community. What are you learning from working with youth around Treaty 7 in these ways?
Tyra: I’m learning many different ways to connect with youth. I love how we can all connect and motivate each other. I feel inspired learning all the projects and things they have going on for themselves. I like to help youth in any way that I can, so I’m grateful for the opportunity I have with Bridges to create programs such as Tutor Connect.
You wrote a letter to your anxiety and shared it with an audience at A Youth Explosion in 2019. This year, your letter became a film directed by Trevor Solway, written by and co-starring you, which is now being screened at ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival on Wednesday, October 20th. It has also been nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 46th annual American Indian film festival. Your letter is reaching a lot of people! How does it feel to have gone down this path?
Tyra: Honestly, it doesn’t feel real. I would never have thought I would be able to share my story about anxiety and have it reach so many people. I am proud of myself for overcoming so much. I want to reach people and help them feel not alone. I felt alone and no one truly knew how I was feeling. It is so important to connect with each other and to realize that there is more going on with people than we think. Trevor did an awesome job of portraying my poem on screen.
You are known on the Bridges team for your excellent taste in music. What is the role of music in your life? What are some of your all time favourites?
Tyra: I didn’t know that the team thought that.
Yes! Everything you put on the team playlist is so cool.
Tyra: Music has had a huge impact since I was a kid. My older brother influenced me a lot, he taught himself to play guitar and a lot of the music he played influenced my taste in music today, like Nirvana and the Strokes. A lot of family members' music have influenced me as well. There's no specific genre I listen to, I like all kinds of music. My all-time favourites are Cage the Elephant, Harry Styles, Justin Bieber, the Wallows, and The Story So Far.
What are some of your hopes and dreams for your future?
Tyra: I would love to get my Masters of Social Work in Community Development. I would love to keep sharing my story about anxiety so I can help others. I haven’t thought too much about that, but I know I would like to write some more.
Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Tyra: Thank you!