I was born in Aklavik, Northwest Territories August 18, 1958. My grandparents, George and Sarah Vittrekwa, raised and then adopted me at the age of 12 years old, because of the fear that my natural mother would take me south. My grandfather’s last name was one of a very few that was kept, before the Anglican and Government came into this country. Vittrekwa means no cry. My grandmother Sarah came from Old Crow, Yukon Territory and used to play around the late Rev. Ellen Bruce.
I am a residential school survivor of thirteen years. I graduated from Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife in 1977. I also graduated from First Nation Management Diploma Program 1993-1995. And recently completed the Targeted Initiatives for Old Workers (TIOW) Program Certificate, Yukon College, Whitehorse, YT Jan. - April 2016.
I came into the Yukon in 1990, and worked at the Yukon College, Whitehorse, YT for 6 years, and returned as a student. I then moved to Old Crow around 1995-96. I was so happy to be living my way of life that I longed for many years. From 1997 to present, I’ve been living in Whitehorse with contract work in Dawson City. I also began learning more about traditional medicines and alternative healing methods. Over the years, I have taught medicine gathering and healing in the communities of Fort McPherson, Dawson City, Old Crow, and Whitehorse in schools, support centres, healing retreats, and offer private lessons.
At about the age of six, I had to help my grandmother, aunts, and other elders with sewing. After my grandmother died, I learned on my own how to start creating, designing and sewing our traditional clothing, and hunting gear. Also in 1987, I had a wonderful gift, my son Joey Brent came into my life. I learned to sew for him and kept and learned about sizing and patterns.
I have had the opportunity to work with Danoja Zho Culture Centre, Forty Mile Gold Workshop, Adaka Cultural Festival, and Unorthodox Yukon over the years. I mostly take personal orders from my clients, for graduations, weddings, etc.