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June 1, 2022
UBC Land and Food Systems
Tatyana is a Dietetics Student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. She is from the Gitxsan First Nation and grew up on-reserve in rural northwestern BC, where she learned about Indigenous food sovereignty and the importance of her culture’s traditional foods systems. From a young age, she has been fascinated by all things science and has had a keen interest in the healthcare field since she first declared that she wanted to become a healthcare practitioner at her preschool graduation. Later in high school, Tatyana’s mother became a very strong motivator for her to pursue a healthcare program as her mother was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that confused many doctors throughout the province.
Tatyana began her postsecondary journey in microbiology and immunology as she enjoyed science but was also interested in finding answers for what was going on with her mother’s health. During this time, her mother would share her difficult experiences with navigating the healthcare system and as Tatyana noticed where the issues were arising, she began to bring these discussions into conversations with other Indigenous students and healthcare practitioners. Tatyana then realized that her passion was to focus on improving Indigenous health, and she switched her educational path to pursue Dietetics to combine her passions for culturally safe healthcare and Indigenous food sovereignty within her program.
When her mother got diagnosed with an aggressive case of leukemia at the beginning of Summer 2021, Tatyana became much more involved in her mother’s healthcare, which made her realize even more, the importance of inclusive healthcare practice when it comes to respecting other cultural values and views of health, in such a sensitive and difficult time in one’s life. When her mother passed away five months after her initial diagnosis, Tatyana had to take a short break from her education to reevaluate her goals and after reflecting on what has happened so far in her educational journey, she became even more committed and inspired to combine her passions for Indigenous health, Indigenous food sovereignty, and culturally safe, person-centered care, to continue to guide her advocacy and career goals.