Tahnahga Myers is a Taino, Mohawk woman who was adopted into the Anishinabe way by a medicine woman of the Midwest. For 23 years, Tahnahga was an apprentice with the teacher Grandmother Keewaydinoquay, an Anishinaabeg Elder of the Crane Clan and a scholar, ethno-botanist, herbalist, teacher, and author. Tahnahga also attended the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she earned a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis on chemical dependency and traditional healing methods for Native people. Tahnahga’s work comes from her deep sense of her identity as a Native woman. She uses her ancestral teachings to work for peace, comfort, growth, and healing.
Tahnahga serves as an independent consultant and trainer to local and national agencies throughout the United States. Her skills include counseling, training, program development, restorative justice work, and group facilitation. She developed, for example, a “Way of Life” three-day intensive workshop for adults and youth that addresses historical trauma and promotes community building. She has also spoken at the United World College in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
She has worked extensively with Native people who face personal difficulties, including chemical dependency, illness, and incarceration. She has supported Native women in prison, for example, in developing healthy lifestyles, their cultural identity, and their spirituality. She has also worked within Native communities on local and national levels to address issues around HIV/AIDS. In 1991, she created Tree of Peace, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Native women, youth, and communities. In 1999, Tahnahga received a Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Services.
Another focus for Tahnahga is preserving Indigenous heirloom seeds, consistent with her focus on honoring our relationship to the natural world and seeing into the future for our children and grandchildren. For five years, she has taught classes on medicinal plants and their uses, including classes at the Minnesota Arboretum. Tahnahga collaborated with Paul Red Elk to build two turtle mound gardens based on Dakota medicine plants and their uses, one at the Gibbs Historical Farm in Minnesota and the other at the Saint Paul Science Museum.
Also a performing artist, Tahnahga has written and produced plays that express the balance, harmony, and inherent responsibilities of the spirit in today’s world. Her plays bring together many different art forms: painting, beadwork, traditional dance, poetry, music, and audio art.
Tahnahga has given poetry readings across the Twin Cities and in Wisconsin. Through her poetry and storytelling, she seeks to help Native people access their visions. Her writing reflects her own Native spirituality remembered through vision and dreaming. Her poetry and storytelling explore the cycles of life. With this focus, she hopes to deepen the awareness that spirituality is alive and strong, able to meet the needs of the Seventh Generation.