“A Day in the Life” with Indigenous Dancer Laura Grizzlypaws

Laura Grizzlypaws is a proud St’at’imc mother from Xwisten, embracing her cultural heritage through the art of dance as a means of reclaiming sovereignty and resilience. From an early age, she felt drawn to the rhythms of her ancestors, seeking to express her identity through song, dance, and storytelling, all while navigating a colonial world.

Dance became her calling, a reflection of her roots and a tool for advocacy. Growing up in her community, she aspired to honour traditions while breaking barriers of oppression, particularly for Indigenous women in the arts. Thus, Grizz Bookings was born, a platform to amplify Indigenous voices and narratives through performances and cultural events.

Through dance, Grizzlypaws found empowerment and purpose, rooted in the rich values of her culture. It became a vehicle for resilience, a testament to the strength and beauty of Indigenous heritage. Her journey has been guided by a commitment to living authentically and showing future generations that success in a colonial world is possible without compromising cultural identity.

Grizzlypaws strives to be a role model, demonstrating that life can be lived with purpose and intent, grounded in the traditions of her people. Her ultimate goal is to inspire others to embrace their heritage, to find strength in their roots, and to dance with pride and resilience in the face of adversity. Through Grizz Bookings and her journey in dance, she hopes to leave a legacy of empowerment and cultural resurgence for generations to come.

-Written by Roxane Letterlough

Laura Grizzlypaws
Community Engagement – Educational Leadership
Laura Grizzlypaws
Grizzlypaws Image- Used as a platform for engagement consultation. Photo by: Maggie Woo
Horsemanship – Riding My Horse Feathers, Therapy quality time with my horse on the land. (I love horses, raise horses and train horses)
Interactive Engagement with Grizz – Event Booking in Germany with a Summer School Program, my daughter immersed in the event with the students of the community
Quality time with my younger children – Having a bday dinner with my two younger children Specwitsa7 Grizzlypaws and Sulyalesta Grizzlypaws
Received my Fitness Award – World Beauty Fashion & Fitness Award Orlando, Florida placing 3rd at my first International Show
Laura Grizzlypaws
Seasonal Salmon Harvest – every year when the salmon run comes our territory, I spend a great deal of time harvesting salmon dip netting from the Fraser River
Laura Grizzlypaws
Sulyalesta and I Selfie – taken at the summer powwow in Oregon summer of 2023

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Which ‘hood are you in?

I am from the Central Interior of the Plateau region, specifically from a small isolated town called Lillooet. However, my heart and identity lie with my St’at’imc identity, rooted in the Xwisten Bear Clan Community known as Bridge River.

What do you do?

As the Indigenous Educational Developer of Indigenous Teaching and Learning at Thompson Rivers University, I focus on supporting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, particularly in improving education attainment levels and success rates, as well as developing culturally appropriate curricula. My role involves working closely with faculty and staff towards teaching and design solutions, providing supportive feedback, guidance and constructive feedback on curriculum development and program design.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m immersed in the illustration phase of my St’at’imc Alphabet Sounds and Symbols Children’s book. Concurrently, I’m pursuing my Education Doctorate in Leadership and Governance at Simon Fraser University, with plans to complete my Comprehensive Exam in Summer 2024 and commence work on my dissertation. Additionally, I’m prioritizing my mental, physical, and emotional health in preparation for my upcoming fitness competition.

Where can we find your work?

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Youtube

Also, you can find my book “Sulyálesta” on Amazon.

 

About Emilea Semancik 124 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: