Dene Nation to host water summit in Fort Smith in October

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya (Arthur C. Green/CKLB Radio photo)

When Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya says “water is life” he has a good reason.

The Dene Nation will host its first northern leaders’ water summit in October in Fort Smith.

“The water summit was planned on advice from all the Grand Chiefs,” Yakeleya told CKLB Radio Wednesday in an exclusive interview. “They have asked the Dene Nation to be the driver in the water summit planning.”

Chief Yakeleya says the Dene will fight the potential release of 1.3 trillion litres of oil sands tailings pond water into the Athabasca River, as well as the massive Site C Dam expansion on the Peace River.

“These projects will have major downstream impacts which would affect the traditional ways of life of Dene people,” Chief Yakeleya said. “This summit will bring together all northern leaders to discuss these issues.”

Chief Yakeleya says the water summit will “hold the government’s feet to the fire” to protect this sacred gift that the creator has given them.

-With files from Arthur C. Green

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.