Tanya is a proud pakana woman and comes from the ancestral Lands of tebrakunna and larapuna. Her birth Country is Flinders Island and her mother, Ella Jane West, was born on the Aboriginal Reserve on Cape Barren Island in the Bass Strait. Her ancestral grandfather is the warrior leader manalargenna.
Tanya has worked for the past 35 years in Aboriginal education, training and welfare related roles in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Queensland. She has been employed as a Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies and Social Work at UTAS and Charles Darwin University (NT) in addition to co-ordinating the Community Services Courses at Charles Darwin University and undertaking work place assessments across the Northern Territory.
Tanya has worked for many years in Aboriginal Community organisations, primarily the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Tanya has also operated a private consultancy; ‘pakana connections’; developing and delivering targeted cultural understandings training to Government and non-Government organisations.
Tanya has a BSW (UTAS) and a Graduate Diploma in Women’s Studies (University of Adelaide) and has sat on many Aboriginal advisory bodies in Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory, in addition to national bodies including the National Sorry Day Committee. Tanya was also an inaugural member of the Tasmanian Women’s Consultative Committee.
Tanya has been a contributor to the Kanalaritja: An Unbroken String program and exhibition at TMAG in addition to being a contributing artist at the annual Aboriginal Darwin Arts Festival.
Tanya currently works for the State Service Management Office as the Senior Consultant, Aboriginal Employment. Her interests include local Aboriginal cultural practices, creative culturally inspired resources and art works, and changing public attitude and perception to encourage the recognition, valuing and celebrating of all Tasmanian Aboriginal people and culture.