Neilatóo.atsien Allan was born to a single mother in the aftermath of the Canadian Residential Schools. She grew up amongst her people the Taku River Tlingit in Atlin BC. As her mother and her mother’s mother and so on she is of the Ḵóokhíttaan Clan. The Taku River Tlingit’s continued connection to the land, water and Lingít identity shaped Neilatóo.atsien’s world view. As the oldest of a multitude of younger cousins she was compelled into the caretaker role. This role developed an advocate spirit and instilled traits such as organization, focus, straightforward communication and a “get it done” attitude.
During the 1980’s when the Indigenous people of Canada were just starting the process of reclaiming their songs, dances, ceremonies and language, Neilatóo.atsien watched the Carcross Tagish Nation Dancers perform at her school. The regalia and drums enthralled her, and motivated her to seek out opportunities to participate in these cultural activities. She dances with the Taku Khwaan Dancers who are the community group of her homelands and is a member of the Dahkha Khwaan Dance Group, a semi-professional group who travels the world sharing their passion for the art of Lingít song, dance and storytelling.
Neilatóo.atsien began her language learning journey in 2018, with a commitment to study regularly with resources available online. She attended a teacher training in December 2019 that gave her the opportunity to be involved with a highly effective Language acquisition program with Children Of The Taku Society. Today Neilatóo.atsien is a Lingít Language Teacher and Language Advocate, who has continued to dedicate her life to revitalizing the language of her people. She has left her position of 12 years with the Yukon Women’s Transition Home society. The years of experience advocating for women has taught her to navigate the bureaucratic processes. She is using these skills now in her essential role as Executive Coordinator of the Children of the Taku Society.