Summit participants encouraged to honour their cultural strengths to promote wellness

Carol Hopkins of the Thunderbird Foundation, speaking to OTL Summit participants in the sharing circle on Thursday - Photo Credit Josh Campbell

‘Honouring Strengths, and Relying on Indigenous Culture to Promote Wellness’ was the keynote to help complete the three day On the Land Summit in Dettah.

Carol Hopkins of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation delivered that message.

Hopkins is a member of the Delaware First Nation. She spoke of the importance of adhering to traditional teachings from elders across Turtle Island.

“Honouring our strengths is recognizing what our creator gave to us, gave to us forever. That means our knowledge as well. Across generations and time on this earth this knowledge transcends that time and is applicable no matter what the contemporary environment might be,” explained Hopkins.

She says in these post colonial times, it boils down to leaders and levels of government to make a choice to invest and get people on the land.

“It’s not an easy decision. It takes lots of work and lots of practice, but our ancestors lived on the land in all kinds of conditions, and they made life good. Our challenges today might be different than what our ancestors face, but every generation of people has something they need to face, and so we have the capacity and the skills, and we can do it. We just need to decide to do it” added Hopkins.

Indigenous comedian Ryan McMahon gave the closing keynote touching on projects he has been involved with, and stressed the miracle of Indigenous culture and language surviving, and being more important today than ever.

“Our land, and our culture are important, I hope you take a part of this conference home in your heart,” said Dettah Chief Edward Sangris wishing the delegates safe travels.

The Yellowknives Dene Drummers closed the summit with a prayer song.


About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He covered female university soccer and volleyball in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario in 2007. He's covered politics and Indigenous stories in both the NWT and Yukon over the last 10 years.

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