“I was born into a long line of prestigious storytellers and it’s my mission to continue to share our story! It is one of resilience and strength despite incredible odds to destroy our very existence as a people. Everyone needs to hear and know our story, this is the beginning of real reconciliation; reconciliation starts with my own heart, I want to share this journey.” ~ Marilyn Jensen

Marilyn Jensen

First Nations and Indigenous Empowerment Expert

Marilyn Jensen is a vibrant and powerful speaker addressing major current themes and areas pertinent and relevant to Indigenous people in Canada and elsewhere.  Her passion lies within reclamation and revitalization of ceremony, songs, culture and everything foundational to her identity but which was stolen and displaced.  Marilyn, Yadultin and Dūsts’ā̀dle, is Inland Tlingit and Tagish Khwáan from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation; belonging to the Dakhl’aweidí Clan under the Tagish Keét Hít (Killerwhale House) in the Southern Yukon Territory.

She currently teaches First Nation Governance at Yukon College and works closely with many Indigenous communities as a contractor focusing on governance strengthening. Her main methodology in speaking, teaching and facilitating has always been through storytelling and sharing the beauty of her culture and identity.  Growing up in the North has fostered her deep love and respect for the land, the animals and for her people who have lived there for 1000s of years. She loves to speak and share the remarkable journey of her family, clan, community and nation, an epic feat of pure survival and determination.

Marilyn Jensen has facilitated and taught important and engaging workshops for Yukon Government on Indigenous history, land claims, self-government and self-determination for 18 years and for numerous First Nation Governments and organizations in many communities.  She has traveled all over the North and elsewhere to share her knowledge and bring awareness to Indigenous narratives. Besides speaking, Marilyn spends most of her time engaging in traditional dancing, singing, drumming, choreographing and storytelling with the Inland Tlingit dance group she founded and leads; the Dakhká Khwáan Dancers.  The dance troupe’s main vision has been to reclaim and revitalize this integral part of their culture and also to share with the world the beauty of their identity with the highest respect to authenticity and excellence.

With Marilyn Jensen standing in front and officially speaking for the group, they have danced and promoted their Nations internationally in New Zealand, Taiwan, across Canada and the U.S. They have also presented at the Vancouver Winter Olympics and for people such as Prince William & Princess Kate. Recently they have been honoured as the recipients of the National Aboriginal Tourism Award. In 2016 Marilyn was honoured by the Governor General of Canada as a recipient of the Polar Medal for Cultural Reclamation.  Marilyn Jensen has earned a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alaska and a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria.

Some Highlights of Speaking Engagements:

  • Reconciliation Canada –Whitehorse, 2016 “Reconciliation in my Own Heart
  • The World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) Honolulu Hawaii – “Indigenizing Governance in the Yukon through Education to strengthen self-determination within Yukon Indigenous communities
  • Indigenous Circumpolar Women’s Gathering, Dene Nahjo, Yellowknife, 2014 “Cultural Revitalization – Leadership in Action
  • TedX Whitehorse – “Transforming the Self in self-determination by reclaiming Ceremony”
  • Key Note – St. Johns, Newfoundland – “Self Determination and Ceremony”, Gwich’in Tribal Council Post- Secondary Academic Conference Series. “Aboriginal Citizenship in the 21st Century: A Time of Challenge and Possibility” Memorial University, 2015.

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