JoLynn Parenteau, avid adventurer

Local Stories

From a big to small city.

JoLynn Parenteau moved herself and her dog from Northern to Southern Alberta on faith to be closer to family, with the idea to take a step back and build the life she wanted. In Canada’s Sunniest City, she quickly caught on that her time in the coulees, coffee shops, breweries, and at sports games would bring a natural balance to her life she’d been searching for, especially in finding the reconnection to her culture as a French, Métis, and Cree woman. 

“What I've discovered is when you find the place where you belong, and doing what you're meant to be doing, everything suddenly falls into place so naturally, that it feels easy." - JoLynn Parenteau.

Within a month of living in Medicine Hat, Parenteau attended a board game night at Medicine Hat Brewing Company, and the people at her table eagerly adopted her into their friend group. From there, she accepted a position with the brewery and her willingness to experience everything about the city continued.

“As a big city girl moving to a smaller city, I have never been bored a day in my life. Between all of the festivals and events, there is so much to do — I love attending the Mavericks and Tigers games, Beat the Heat Skate Competition, and the Powwows for National Indigenous Day,” she says. 

With a background in broadcasting radio and television, Parenteau had hoped she would somehow break into the music industry. In 2020, Parenteau started work at the Miywasin Friendship Centre, an Indigenous service centre for Medicine Hat and area.

“I felt this really strong pull to connect to culture, which had been missing for most of my life. I just felt drawn to Miywasin Friendship Centre. They opened their doors to me and brought me onto their team.”

Originally, it was to support and provide families with financial support during difficult times. But as everything in her life, the role grew into something greater. She discovered that sometimes she might be the only face someone sees in a two week period, and people really opened up to her. She listened and recognized there was an opportunity to build a family liaison role and really connect folks who are isolated to more support in the community.

“What surprised me most about working at Miywasin, is I now sing for an Indigenous traditional drum and singer group.”

Her dreams of being a singer at the age of 18 came to fruition. The drum and singer group perform at events around the city, including National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. A team member makes hand drums with raw materials, and they’ve all learned to make their own drums and rattles, and find their own voices.

Parenteau also writes for the Medicine Hat News for the weekly ‘The Miywasin Moment’ column feature. “Miywasin is a Cree word that means ‘it is good’, so it is a good moment when you're reading The Miywasin Moment with your morning coffee.”

The launch of her newest program in January 2022, Metis Money Moves, is a finance and house-hold budgeting basics course for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit folks, that has already helped over 30 families in the community.

Parenteau quickly identified that the move she made years prior had led her to experiences she is grateful to have on a daily basis. From walking the trails with her husband, who she met in Medicine Hat and recently married in Forty Mile Lake, to learning to golf, and basking in the sun on the downtown patios, Parenteau lives a balanced life.

“What I've discovered is when you find the place where you belong, and doing what you're meant to be doing, everything suddenly falls into place so naturally, that it feels easy,” she says. “Life is peaceful here compared to the big city, and I’ve learned to slow down my driving and workload, despite all the exciting projects I’m working on.” 

The adventurer has a list of places she wants to go again and has yet to explore, like Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park/Aisinai’pi, Red Rock Coulee, and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. There are eateries and live music she has yet to try and experience. Parenteau knows, one day, it’ll all be endured with her husband, her dog, and friends by her side.


Métis Michif for ‘it’s been nice talking to you’: ni mii-yeuyh-tayn aen kii ki-too-ti-taan 

Métis Michif for 'hello, how are you everyone?': Tanishi kiiyawow 

Métis Michif for 'my name is JoLynn': JoLynn dishinikashon 

Thank you | Kinanaskomitin | Hiy Hiy | Maarsii


JoLynn Parenteau (she/her)

Indigenous Coordinated Access Program Manager

ᐅᓃᓱᐦᑲᒫᑫᐤ onîsohkamâkew One who provides aid

Miywasin Friendship Centre

517 3rd Street SE

Medicine Hat, AB T1A 0H2

Cell 403-502-0529

Kishchee tey mo’yawn aen li Michif wi’yawn (Proud to be Métis)

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