We come from a long line of powerful Matriarchs and legends on the land, with our ancestral roots in the north. Empowered by our heritage and reclaiming our Gwich’in culture, we strive to do our best. We are descendants of John Kwatlatyi and Annie Netro on our Mother’s side, and have Ukrainian heritage on our Father’s side.
Agnes Norberg and Lawrence (Slim) Semmler are our Great Grandparents who were very active in the far north of Canada. They owned and operated trading posts in Cape Krusenstern, Tuktoyuktuk, Read Island, Aklavik, Richardson Island, Cambridge Bay, and Napoyak. The finally settled in Inuvik where they ran the L.F Semmler General Store and built their first house. Great Granny was involved in many political avenues which include being the first president and co-founder for the Committee of Original Peoples Entitlement (COPE), was the first woman to be appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories and was the first northern First Nations woman to be awarded the Justice of the Peace, to name a few. She was a huge advocate for Women's rights in the north along with the plentiful community work she did in her amazing lifetime.
Words from Great Granny
Our Grandmother, Beverly Leduc was born along the Arctic coast at Coppermine, now Kugluktuk, Nunavut, and grew up in Aklavik, Northwest Territories. As a baby, her first home was a snow house. When she was 18, she moved to Kenora, Ontario to become a hairdresser while continuing her practice of sewing/beading. Over the years Granny has gifted the family numerous pairs of mittens made from a variety of materials including rabbit, seal skin and moosehide. Most recently she has been creating fur bears out of up cycled and reused fur coats.
Penny Prysnuk, our mother, is a very talented quilter, sewer and beader. She taught us to sew when we were young so that we could fix our clothing and do sewing projects for fun. These skills have helped us in numerous ways over our lives and have helped us create what we do today. Our father, Allan Prysnuk, taught us an abundance of skills also used in our work such as woodworking, skills with power tools, building and construction. Our parents continue to teach us new skills.
The biggest shout out to our parents, who have supported us through and through as we find our way. Our brother, Mckeehan, who we miss dearly, was always supportive of our artwork and dreams. He was an amazing person, mechanic and unbelievably talented at an infinite number of things. We love you brother.
Family and our heritage is immensely important to us and we are forever grateful for the support and love.