Land based healing was one of the keynote discussions at day one of the On the Land Summit in Dettah.
Tlingit elder Phillip Gatensby, of Carcross, delivered a message on the importance of re-connecting with the land, water and animals, in this post-colonial era.
“We still have something, how the heck we’ve held on to it I don’t know. They’ve tried to change us, since 1492 they’ve tried to wipe us out. I look around the room and I say wow we must be tough like the willows for crying out loud, you can’t keep them down, they keep springing back up and even stronger every time,” said Gatensby during his presentation.
He helps lead ceremony at the Jackson’s Lake healing camp in Yukon.
The break out sessions are being held in McPherson tent’s outside the Chief Drygeese Building, lead by Dene, Inuit and Cree elders.
Susan Ross is attending the summit as a participant for the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and was on the opening day’s culture panel.
“We do programs with youth, middle aged, and elders. Some of them are on grieving, healing, mental health discussions and survival skills,” said Ross about the current on the land programs currently offered in the Gwich’in Settlement Area.
Ross says she hopes to bring back successful lessons from the neighbouring territories to the Mackenzie Delta.
Indigenous Guardianship and Students on the Land programs will be the focus discussions today.