‘Go back to our roots’: An opportunity to learn Dene culture, reflect during pandemic

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya. (File photo/CKLB).

The Dene national chief says the community should use their time in isolation as opportunity to reflect.

“If you look at the flip side of it, it’s a golden opportunity to take a step back from this modern lifestyle, modern world,” said Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya.

One of those opportunities is the At Home on the Land initiative, an investment by the federal government that encourages people to live off the land — something the Dene Nation supports.

The $2.6 million initiative was launched in the NWT in March to encourage physical distancing during the pandemic.

“This would not have possibly happened if we didn’t have COVID,” Yakeleya said. “Because of COVID we’ve taken a step back, to go back to our roots as the Dene people.”

He also encourages youth to speak with their elders during isolation, as an opportunity to learn more about their history.

“Learning our traditions, learning our culture and more importantly our values as people,” he said. “We’re no longer lost.”

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com