The Fall Dehcho Leadership Meeting ended last evening in Fort Providence, with the host chief walking out before it adjourned.
Deh Gah Gotie Chief Xavier Canadien who is up for re-election next month stormed out of the Nah Eh Cho Complex yesterday, after unsuccessfully pitching for the Edéhzhíe protected area office be moved to Fort Providence.
“First of all this our resolution. I’ve tried to present it before. We requested that it be brought up, and then you move for adjournment instead of voting on it?” Chief Canadien said before getting up and walking out of the meeting Wednesday.
Currently staff working on the Edéhzhíe Protected Area are working out of the Dehcho First Nations office located in Fort Simpson. Edéhzhíe is a sacred place for both the Dehcho and Tlicho Dene. It encompasses the Horn Plateau, a 600-metre escarpment rising above the Mackenzie Valley, and the surrounding area of boreal forest drained by the Horn and Willowlake rivers.
According to documents obtained by CKLB, the Fort Providence Combined Council Alliance passed a resolution calling for the office to be moved to their community on Oct 24th. The alliance represents the Hamlet, Métis Council and Deh Gah Gotie Council.
Jean Marie River First Nation Chief Stan Sanguez advised against the move until Fort Providence had stable funding to establish an Edéhzhíe office. Dehcho Grand Chief Gladys Norwegian also asked for more dialogue between member communities and to better establish protecting Edéhzhíe for future generations.
“Its not time to say yay or nay, or to battle on where the office should be. There is some serious work that needs to be done, before the fifth year of the establishment of Edéhzhíe. It is really important that all staff be together,” Grand Chief Norwegian told the leaders around the table as Chief Canadien left the room.
Deh Gah Gotie First Nation members will decide if it’s an election issue, as they prepare to head to the polls for a chief and council election slated for November 2oth. The Dehcho Negotiations team and community leaders are planning to meet again in December ahead of the next Dene Nation special leadership meeting set for December 9th in Yellowknife.