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Episode #34: Nadya Crossman-Serb

March 15, 2021

35:09 minutes


“Be proud of who you are, don’t feel like you have to assimilate into one way of being, just be yourself and learn as much as you can about your culture as you can.” Nadya is a 23-year-old Métis/Libyan sprint canoer who has been paddling for 18 years. She has eight World Cup and World Championships medals under her belt and 12 national titles. She started paddling at the age of six when her Mom took up the sport. Since Nadya was at the paddling club too, she paddled as well. She was 17 when she made her first national team, and she would train and compete at the highest levels for five years until she retired in 2019.

Now free from the rigors of international competition, Nadya is coaching. She has partnered with her brother and others to start a not-for-profit organization (waterwayscanada.com) that uses paddling as a tool to re-connect Indigenous youth to their culture through the water and the land in a way that is similar to the experiences of the generations who came before them. In addition to her work with youth, Nadya currently views paddling as a way of adding goodness to her life. It is a way to connect to nature and feel the water without trying to be the best in the world.

Growing up as part of the Métis and Muslim community, Nadya often felt like she sat on the fringes of several communities, but when she sat in her boat, she felt like that was the one place she truly belonged and where she felt connected to something beyond herself. Please tune in to our conversation with Nadya Crossman-Serb to learn about the power of authentically being who you are while simultaneously chasing your dreams.

“It felt like I belonged in there in that place (in my boat) and it felt like I was connecting to my Metis ancestors.”