Mrs. Melody Lepine is Cree and Dene, a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. From a young age, she was motivated by traditional teachings in environmental stewardship to advance studies in environmental conservation sciences at the University of Alberta and Royal Road University. This balance of teachings in both traditional environmental knowledge and western science has become a key strength in Melody’s career.
As Director of the MCFN Government and Industry Relations, she is responsible for overseeing all government and industry consultation pertaining to resource development within the Treaty 8 territory in northeastern AB. Mrs. Lepine is also a member of the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advisory Committee for impact assessments, on AB Environment’s Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel, a board member for the Pembina Institute and Peace-Athabasca Delta Institute and has just recently joined the First Nations National Guardian Network Council.
As a young single mother, Melody worked very hard in building her professional career for her daughter Tatiana and her despite some significant life challenges that she still manages to climb through. Tatiana’s uncertain health diagnosis as a newborn, urban social issues of poverty and addictions, intergenerational Indian Residential School trauma and the recent loss of her mother a few years ago has all weighed very heavily on her. When Melody relocated back to Ft. McMurray after university to begin her career, she met her current husband and mountain adventure partner Gary. Gary introduced her to what became her new added passion in life, mountaineering! They have climbed Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, and numerous slopes in the AB Rockies and in tropical places like Bali, Hawaii and Thailand.
Melody’s commitments to protecting Indigenous rights, important challenges in environmental conservation and stewardship as well as the personal challenge to climb some of the world’s highest mountains is what keeps her highly grounded in her values and dedicated to her work. She is honored and excited to be a part of the first Indigenous Climbing Team that is planning to Climb Mt. Denali in 2023!