Rosalee J. Tizya (Biographical Sketch) October 2004

Rosalee Tizya is Vuntat Gwich’in and was born and raised in the Yukon Territory till the age of 17. She took two (2) years at the University of British Columbia after graduation in Whitehorse, Yukon. She attended Chooutla Residential School till the age of 13. She left the University of British Columbia where she was training as a teacher to help her people in the MacKenzie Delta stop the building of the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline through the Porcupine Caribou herd’s migration route. Through those years of hard work, her elders taught her many disciplines and showed her how to take in the beauty of the Gwich’in People’s territory. Her parents are Peter and Clara Tizya of Old Crow, Yukon. She lives in Vancouver where she has made her home and raised her son Christian who is now happily married.

During her career, Rosalee worked for two major Indian organizations in the Northwest Territories – COPE, the Committee for Original People’s Entitlement, and, the Dene Nation. She worked briefly at the National Indian Brotherhood in Ottawa as the Education Director in the early 1970’s but returned to Vancouver British Columbia to work for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and subsequently for the United Native Nations. She has been a passionate advocate of Indigenous rights for 40 years and has earned the respect of Indian, Metis and Inuvialuit communities where she has worked tirelessly during her 40 year career. Rosalee apprenticed with a professional therapist from the age of 18 years old and applied these techniques and teachings to help Indigenous people meet their needs.

Rosalee continues her grueling pace working in small Indian communities throughout Canada assisting community people to address the internalized/externalized pain that leads to suicides and homicides. She recently completed projects in Ontario with First Nations from James Bay to the U.S./Canada border, in addition to First Nations in Manitoba and British Columbia.

In her public life, she is well-known for her “Oral History of Indian North America” which continues to be in demand throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Single parenthood did not prevent her from continuing to work at her blistering pace and in 1992 relocated to Ottawa for three (3) years where she was invited to work for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People’s as the Urban Research Coordinator. Following her work at the Royal Commission, Rosalee returned to Vancouver and began her business “Little Scout Research & Consulting” in July 1995. Rosalee committed her life to help community people alleviate the suffering and abusive conditions existing on reserves that is associated with violence and poverty throughout Canada. She works tirelessly to link the off-reserve and on-reserve with their original stories and cultural belief systems.

Rosalee served diligently up to 2002 for three (3) years on the Board of the Legal Services Society for B.C., the Institute of Indigenous Government, and for the past 20 years on the Centre for World Indigenous Studies based in Olympia, Washington holding the Chief George Manuel Chair. Many people are responsible for the work and commitment of Ms Tizya in their support of her work sharing with her their knowledge, skill and abilities. They have contributed to her understanding of the roots of racism as she bridges cultural gaps and strengthens the self-worth of every human being she meets.

Rosalee believes she has many more years of work which she carries out with humor, respect and love for people. She looks forward to the future with optimism based on the incredible changes she has witnessed in the lives of people.

Rosalee can be reached by phoning (604) 879-8797 and leaving a message on her voice mail if she is not at home, or, e-mailing her at: rtizya@yahoo.com. Her fax number is: (604) 879-8117