Tracy’s HIPPY Story: ‘I learned that it’s okay to play and pretend to fly like an eagle,
Tracy is from the West Coast of Vancouver Island and comes from a family of eight sisters and six brothers. She is Ditidaht First Nation on her mother’s side and Heshquiaht First Nation on her father’s – both part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation.
Tracy grew up and graduated from high school in Nanaimo, BC, and moved to Vancouver at age 22. Her first daughter was born in 2007 and, as soon as she was old enough, they started the HIPPY program together. Tracy recalls the most challenging part of the program was getting down and actually playing with her child because she had never experienced that during her own childhood.
I learned that it’s okay to play and pretend to fly like an eagle, or hop like a frog.
This experience has had a lasting impact – she now takes time to play with both of her children regularly. Her culture is a big part of her life, and she is passing this lesson on to her daughters.
Being a single mom in the city, away from her home community, has been challenging, but Tracy is determined to succeed. She enrolled in classes at the Native Education College and received a diploma in Family and Community Counselling in 2011. This enabled her to get a job as a Family Support Worker at the Vancouver Native Health Society. She now works to help families overcome some of the same challenges she has faced.