Yakeleya enters race for Dene National Chief

Norman Yakeleya participating in a drum dance in Deline, NT. (Photo courtesy of Deline Gotine)

Former Sahtu MLA, and Dene Metis landclaim negotiator Norman Yakeleya announced he is seeking the nomination to run for Dene National Chief on CKLB radio’s morning show Denendeh Sunrise.

After attending the recent leadership meeting in Deline, Yakeleya said he felt a calling to return to political leadership and re-unite the Dene Nation.

“We’re not Moolah (whiteman) we’re Dene. We have to follow the guidance of our elders and ancestors as to implement our own healthcare system. It’s a real big challenge, but when I was in Deline I saw our leadership come together with the people and the hospitality of Deline and the relationship building.We heard the voices of our Chiefs on the issues facing the Dene, and we need to come together on these common fronts as Dene people,” Yakeleya told CKLB listeners Tuesday morning.

Yakeleya also acknowledges the work and leadership of current Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, and thanked him for his 30 years of service to Denendeh.

“As Dene, our culture is the foundation of who we are as a nation, We unite as our challenges become more intense on all fronts – socially, economically, politically, and pesonally. In Dene we say ‘Kut’ah,’ which means enough. The agreements our ancestors made during treaty were genuine, built with integrity and honesty,” said Yakeleya.

Yakeleya started his leadership journey as band council member in his home community of Tulita in 1987. He would go on to serve a term as Chief of the Tulita Dene Band, and lead his region as chair of the Sahtu Tribal Council. Yakeleya followed the foot steps of Premier Stephen Kakwfi, entering territorial politics and being elected Sahtu MLA in 2003.

Norman Yakeleya, holds signatures of Deline supporters of Self Government.

Monday June 11th was the deadline for nomination submissions for the AFN Regional Chief and Dene National Chief election.

The election will be held between August 20-24th at the Dene National Assembly at West Point First Nation near Hay River.

Dene Nation staff could not confirm the names of any other candidates Tuesday morning.

CKLB has learned that former Gwich’in Tribal Council President and NWT government leader Richard Nerysoo is also considering joining the race.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Campbell is back as the host of the new CKLB Morning show the Breakfast Club. Before moving north in 2007, he graduated from Loyalist College's Broadcast Journalism Program.

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