Reneltta is of Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Chipewyan-Cree descent originally from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, Reneltta traveled around the North with them to communities such as Fort Providence all the way up to what was then called Snowdrift, now Lutsel K’e. Being raised in an originally nomadic environment gave her the skills to become an inspiring and significant artist. Reneltta’s life ambition is to continue pursuing art and artistry. She believes that it is natural for stories to be maintained through theatre. Theatre is dramatic storytelling. To keep our culture alive we must transform our identity into something that rings true to everyone everywhere, to become universal.
For over ten years Reneltta has been an active participant in or creator of Aboriginal Theatre nationally and internationally. As a student at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, Ontario Reneltta began exploring the techniques of incorporating her personal stories into an ensemble. In Whitehorse, Yukon she was an integral part of the ensemble of Raven’s Tale theatre. Raven’s Tale showcased the diversity of the Yukon by telling the traditional stories of the land and culture including an adaptation of Raven Steals the Sun. The cast was made up of many First Nations of the area as well as Indigenous peoples from other parts of Canada, including herself. From there Reneltta continued pursuing her acting in a more formal education. In 2005, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting degree from the University of Alberta. Reneltta became the first Aboriginal woman as well as the first Inuk to graduate from that program. Her training and life experience has brought her to many places since. From being a part of Copper Thunderbird, the first Aboriginal play to be on the main stage at the National Arts Centre in eighteen years, where she became a premier recipient of their David S.R. Leighton Fellowship Award, to overseas where she toured northern Greece for six months performing Utopian Floes as part of Caravan Tall Ship Theatre’s eclectic and culturally diverse cast and crew. As a resident in Edmonton, Reneltta coordinated the first annual Rubaboo Aboriginal Arts Festival in 2009.
Reneltta recently produced her first play, TUMIT, under her theatre company, Akpik Theatre. With a personal exploration of relationships and breaking cycles, TUMIT gave Reneltta the opportunity and experience to take her storytelling one step further. Beginning at Nakai Theatre’s 24-Hour Playwriting Festival to a draft being read at Edmonton’s NextFest and being work shopped with O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk and Public Energy in Peterborough, Ontario to a final work shopped production in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories with support from the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre, TUMIT premiered in Edmonton as part of Workshop West’s International Canoe Festival in 2011. Reneltta is currently in the process of writing her next play about Tookoolito, guide and friend to Charles Francis Hall, as Playwright-in-Residence at Gwaandaak Theatre in Whitehorse, Yukon.
Reneltta is fortunate to continually work as an Actor/Storyteller/Playwright/Producer throughout Canada and Internationally. As her mother says, “keep your culture alive.” Reneltta plans on doing that for a very long time.