Narya's origins trace back to ancient times when the Eskimo Gods of the North battled the mystical Great Beasts for the fate of the world. Ultimately both parties were exiled from Earth, and as such the Gods sought to create an agent to prevent the Beasts' return. To that end, Nelvanna, goddess of the Northern Lights, mated with a human. With the midwifery assistance of Sarcee mystic Michael Twoyoungmen, Nelvanna gave birth to a daughter, Narya. Twoyoungmen bound the infant to the lands of Canada, allowing her to assume human form; however, she would weaken if she left Canada's borders.
Twoyoungmen raised the rapidly maturing Narya as his own daughter, and both were soon recruited into Alpha Flight as Shaman and Snowbird. Narya was given the human cover identity of RCMP Records Officer Anne McKenzie, as whom she met and fell in love with fellow officer Doug Thompson. Snowbird and her teammates protected Earth from the Great Beasts, but when Narya married Thompson and became pregnant with his child, the outraged Eskimo Gods banned her from their realm. When Narya went to the Arctic alongside Doug and Shaman to give birth, the necessary magic accidentally revived the evil Pestilence, who had lain dormant underground there. Pestilence possessed Snowbird's newborn son and aged him into an adult, intending to menace Earth with his powers of death and decay. In the ensuing battle, Thompson and the baby were killed by Pestilence, and Vindicator was forced to kill a Pestilence-possessed Snowbird. The souls of Narya, her husband, and their child were then welcomed into the Gods' realm.
Snowbird's spirit occasionally returned to Earth until she was resurrected through a combination of science and magic by the terrorist organization Advanced Idea Mechanics. Rescued by Alpha Flight, she rejoined the team.