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The Turtle Team

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Ashley Hansen

Co - President & Cultural Consultant

My name is Ashley, and I am the Co-President and Métis Cultural Consultant of Turtle Island Safer Spaces. Growing up as an Indigenous youth, and now, working as a teacher with Indigenous students, I know firsthand what it means for a place to truly feel “safe”. I am excited about this project because it helps bring community to Indigenous youth and puts the issues they face on the forefront of our minds and discussions.

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Elena Nykolaychuk

Co - President

My name is Elena and I am the Co-President of Turtle Island Safer Spaces. I am from Celtic and Ukrainian settler descent, born and still living in Treaty 6 Territory. This project began as a junior high club for Indigenous Youth, and now has grown beyond the classroom to ensure these youth have safe spaces all over “Edmonton”. I care about this project because my Indigenous students are my heroes, and want to do everything in my power to see that they are revered and cared for.

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Anna Cousins (Muskego)

Cultural Consultant

I am mixed blood Dene, my band is Cold Lake. I grew up in two worlds, being native living with my mother who is of European descent. Being a visible minority in Southern Alberta I faced  discrimination and racism throughout my childhood. I still face these issues as an adult however I am better equipped to navigate and process the situations. I now live in YEG, I enjoy spending time working on various cultural projects, teaching children/adults crafts at festivals and  historical interpreting. This project is important, we need to make positive change for our young people as these encounters can be traumatizing.

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Greg Cardinal

Cultural Consultant

My name is Greg Cardinal. I am Nehiyaw (Cree) originally from Saddle Lake First Nation. I have one parent who lives in Saddle Lake, while the other has left and joined spirit world. As for my siblings, 2 are still here and there is one who has gone before as well. I am a dad to 3 great kids, a mosom to 2 grandkids, and have a loving partner. I have lived, worked, played, and gone to school while here in Edmonton. I haven't lived in Edmonton all my life, though. I grew up on reserve and moved to Edmonton in 1990. I guess that I might be regarded as an "Urban Indigenous person". Having lived both on reserve, rural and urban settings, I know what it is like to have your worth questioned as an Indigenous person within certain retail shops. Guaranteed small Canadian towns are more obvious about it, but cities have their problems with Indigenous people too. While working as an Indigenous Interpreter at Fort Edmonton Park for 11+yrs, I've learned that even though there have been many strides made towards Reconciliation, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance by the general public of Indigenous people there is still a long way to go. This, mainly, is why I am a big supporter of Turtle Teams and Safer Spaces. I hope to offer what I can towards achieving better, safer, and tolerant spaces where openness and understanding can flourish. Hiy hiy.
All my relations.

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Savanna Gee


I am biracial (of Chinese and German descent), and a life-long resident of amiskwaciwâskahikan. With a background in non-profit work and community support, I am excited to spread awareness, resources, and education in order to support Indigenous youth.


Anya Nykolaychuk

Events Facilitator

Hello! My name is Anya. If you've been to any of our Turtle events, you've likely seen me handing out stickers or chatting up the crowd. I was born and raised in amiskwaciwâskahikan, descended from Celtic and Ukrainian settlers. I believe the key to a better world is to amplify, listen to, and honour Indigenous voices, and as a guest on this land, to do so with accountability and responsibility. I am passionate about creating community through meaningful connection and conversation, and it's a pleasure to be able to do that with the Turtle Island Safer Spaces team!

The Turtle Team: Meet the Team
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