April 20, 2024

New Series: Voices of YMM

By on January 7, 2021 0 647 Views

When people think of the Wood Buffalo region usually the biting cold or the oil industry comes to mind. Often overlooked are the strong sense of community and our way of uniting with others.

When my family moved to Fort McMurray, I begged them to move back to India. I had never experienced such weather, and I couldn’t communicate with any English-speaking children in my kindergarten class. At first, my parents guided me by enrolling me in swimming classes and taking me to the library.

Now, I cannot imagine growing up in any other place because diverse individuals not only retain their traditions here, but they also find new ways to celebrate their cultures to share them with their fellow residents.

A photo from one of Tanisha’s earliest memories at J. Howard Pew Memorial Family Park in Fort McMurray in June 2009. Photo by Hemendra Kadia

I was born in Gujarat, India. My favourite Hindu festival is Navratri. During Navratri, we gather for nine nights of dancing in the worship of Goddess Adhya Shakti. Every year, I celebrate my tradition oceans away from where it originated, and it always amazes me.

I love the dichotomies our region allows me to explore: the early winter sunsets and short summer nights, as well as the fostering of environmental interest and sustaining a fuel-based economy, close-knit community and connection to big cities.

As my final months in this region near as I plan to move to further my studies, I want to discover even more surprises our home has to offer before graduating. Our communities nurture unique stories and provide a vibrant setting for more of them to develop.

Share Your Voice!

Because YMM Parent Magazine strongly believes that unity is found within diversity and celebrating our multiculturalism and history, I will be sharing a new story feature series called Voices of YMM. In order to celebrate the variety and uniqueness of our region’s stories, the series will focus on the experiences of different individuals in every article.

Voices of YMM acknowledges the multitude of cultures flourishing here. Whether you’re a Newfoundlander with entrenched Christmas traditions, a Chinese-Canadian with a killer dumpling recipe up your sleeve, or an FNMI Elder with sacred healing rituals, we want to hear your story!

What brought you to YMM? How have you made YMM your home? What makes YMM so special? Share your story! Contact us by emailing YMM Parent’s Editor-in-Chief at dawn@balsom.ca.

About the author

Youth Writer

Tanisha Kadia is a grade 12 student at École McTavish Public High School. Born in India, Kadia moved to Toronto when she was two years old. Kadia and her family have called Fort McMurray home for over a decade.

Kadia is profoundly involved in extra-curricular activities at her high school, including announcement broadcasting, musical theatre productions and peer tutoring. She is also on the Student Council, Robotics Team, Breakfast Club and the Leaders in Environmental Advocacy and Protection team. Additionally, she plays the clarinet for both the concert and jazz band.

As a member of the Mayor Advisory on Council and Youth's General Assembly and the Alberta Health Services Youth Advisory, Kadia places her passion in the community by volunteering at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and various other establishments and organizations in Fort McMurray.