Global News anchor Daintre Christensen inspires Indigenous youth to work hard and dream big

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(ANNews) – Every morning, Daintre Christensen shows young Indigenous people in Alberta that you can achieve your dreams with hard work, being in the right place at the right time and with a bit of luck.

She is a vital member of the Global Television Family and a role model for Indigenous youth, especially Indigenous girls and women.

In an exclusive interview with Alberta Native News’ Chevi Rabbit, Christensen opened up about his life, struggles and career.

Global Edmonton launched as ITV on September 1, 1974. Many of Canada’s most extraordinary television personalities have been part of the network’s 48-year legacy, such as Lorraine Mansbridge, Lesley MacDonald and Lynda Steele .

Many First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities have grown up watching the network and the friendly faces that keep us informed and updated on current events and local, regional, national and international news.

For the past 13 years, Indigenous communities have been inspired by Daintre Christensen, who continues to pioneer as a proud First Nations woman on television as a Traffic Anchor and co-host of Morning News at GlobalEdmonton.

Christensen is a member of the Nipissing First Nation of Ontario, an Ojibwe and Algonquin community whose ancestors have lived on and around Lake Nipissing for over 9,000 years.

“I’ve worked hard, but I’ve lived my life with some luck,” Christensen said.

After a work experience program in high school, she decided to become a journalist. It started with some luck, she explained, “when I was standing in front of the tribal council members who were there to help determine who got funding for the year – because unfortunately, there had more applicants for education than for funding.”

After receiving approval from her tribal council, she promised to give back to the community and complete her education.

She ended up excelling in school with a high GPA and because her grades were high she was able to use scholarships, proving that if you work hard enough you will be rewarded.

“I wanted to make sure my First Nations family back home was proud,” Christensen said.

“I managed to get a job at a local radio station; they were looking for someone who was green enough. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of experience when I applied, but they ended up choosing me from a number of applicants.

Christensen explained that she was very proud to get the job at the radio station. However, the pride she felt for her achievement was overshadowed by a hateful remark from a former colleague.

He told Christensen it annoys him when an Aboriginal gets a job on him even if he has more experience. His comments left a lasting mark on Christensen, shamed him for his background and heritage as a First Nations person.

“I didn’t say anything at the time, and I wish I had because it might have changed that person’s perspective,” she noted. “I carried that experience with me for quite a while.”

Over the years, Christensen says she has overcome this experience and others like her, and is very proud of her Aboriginal identity.

Today, she is a lawyer, works for Global Edmonton and has become a vital member of the Global Television family.

When Global Edmonton hired her, they decided to bring in helicopters to do traffic reports. “I was so scared of heights, but I got the job done,” she said. “I’m still nervous every time,” she said.

One day, Global Television needed her to replace the morning news. “I did a great job and they liked the recording,” she said, and that’s how she transitioned into her current role.

Before getting his big break on Global Television, Christensen spent time doing odd jobs in Edmonton. She moved from Ontario and started working at Tim Hortons for several months delivering pizza to pay the bills while pursuing her dream job.

“You can’t be afraid to take on these little jobs that aren’t necessarily what you had in mind,” Christensen remarked.

She said Indigenous youth who leave home to pursue education or work need to be smart to save money. But they also need to make sure they stay focused on their goals and ambitions.

It would be better if you persevered through barriers and struggles. But, as Christensen says, “your dreams will eventually come true; in the long run, it will happen.

She wants to remind Indigenous youth to stay in touch with their family, extended family and First Nations communities.

“I live 2,000 miles from my family and my home community…yet I stay connected,” she said.

Near the end of the interview, Christensen opened up about his very personal struggles with a neurological disorder. She was hesitant to share, but she thinks sharing this part of her story might help others.

“I was afraid to talk about it because there’s a stigma attached to it,” she said.

“I was diagnosed with ADHD and for the past ten years have been currently living with and managing ADHD. However, this is something I struggled with for a long time.

Years ago, she suspected she might have ADHD because she had such a hard time reading textbooks. “I would read it again and again,” she said.

“I felt like I couldn’t absorb it. I didn’t understand why I was struggling in school. They tested me; they told me, you’re wonderful, you’re smart and everything is fine, and we don’t know why you have these difficulties.

But ten years ago, after a conversation with her husband about it, Christensen was properly tested, diagnosed with ADHD and received proper medical attention.

She said that through medication and lifestyle changes, she managed to manage her ADHD, which is classified as a neurological disorder.

Christensen’s story is one of breaking down barriers, being a trailblazer, and paving the way for the next generation of First Nations women in television. She is a shining example of what is possible and she continues to be a role model for Canadian Aboriginal women.

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