Members of the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation have ratified the establishment of Thaidene Nene through an almost unanimous show of hands on January 17th, 2019 through an all-member referendum on February 18th, 2019.
88% of all ballots cast in the referendum were in favour of establishing Thaidene Nene as a Park, with Indigenous Guardians as the main Rangers of the future park.
“The results of this ratification process clearly show that our people are fully behind the vision of our elders to protect Thaidene Nene forever. We are now moving forward as a community to ensure that our way of life will thrive into the future. We will exercise our responsibility to take care of this land and protect the way of life of our people, and work together with our government partners on nation-to-nation basis to welcome visitors to our lands,” said Chief Darryl Marlowe after the vote.
Fifteen years ago LutselK’e elders pushed for the protection of the heart of their territory. This ratification marks a significant milestone towards the achievement of this vision. The whole of Thaidene Nene is about 26,376 square kilometres and will be designated by the Dene First Nation as a protected area under Denesuline Law.
LutselKe Dene have voted w 89% support for the Establishment Agreements w Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories Governments to protect the heart of their territory #ThaideneNene
— Steven Nitah (@StevenNitah) February 19, 2019
Upon the signing of the Establishment Agreements, the core of Thaidene Nene will also be designated as a new National Park Reserve by the Government of Canada, with abutting areas designated as Protected Areas by the Government of the Northwest Territories.
With this ratification, the LutselK’e Dene membership authorizes its Chief and Council to sign Establishment Agreements with Canada and the GNWT to permanently protect Thaidene Nene under Denesuline, Federal, and Territorial law.