Dani Gillis is the new Métis Nation of Alberta Region 5 youth project coordinator.
“I really love it,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to work for the Métis Nation, as I’ve been a member of MNA since I was 15 years old.”
MNA “connected me with a community of support,” she says. This includes relationship with elders, letters of reference, support during post secondary, and scholarships.
Gillis grew up in Manning, north of Peace River.
Gillis, her husband, and four sons moved to Slave Lake from Grande Prairie in November. Her husband works as an education assistant with High Prairie School Division.
Gillis and her husband’s jobs are flexible, which gives “a lot of time to spend with our family which is our number one priority,” says Gillis.
Slowing down and living in a rural setting with easy access to nature are other priorities. In the past, they’ve often camped around Lesser Slave Lake.
As the youth coordinator, Gillis helps Métis youth aged 12 to 29 connect with their culture and community. This is done through lifeskills, cultural enrichment, and personal development.
“Right now we’re all virtual,” says Gillis. She’s part of a province-wide team and all of the programs are available across the province.
Gillis is planning a wellness series and an artists series. One of the wellness presenters is Slave Laker Tannis Fiddler, who does Emotional Freedom ‘tapping’ Techniques. Someone from High Prairie is presenting on art therapy.
“We’re always looking for more local facilitators or Métis who want to share their knowledge,” says Gillis.
Gillis also does presentations about Métis culture for the general population and helps youth apply for MNA membership and access MNA programs.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting into the community,” says Gillis.