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.”