Improving relationships and working on an implementation plan are the next steps for the city’s joint economic strategy with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
The City of Yellowknife and YKDFN met at Aurora Lodge to hold a graduation ceremony from the First Nations – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) program. The CEDI program is funded by the federal government, with the goal of boosting economic development in Indigenous communities.
Yellowknives Dene Ndilo Chief Ernest Betsina said the biggest priority for YKDFN is to work together with the city on the Giant Mine Remediation project, because YKDFN does not have the capacity to work on the project themselves.
Betsina added his members want to see simplicity with the economic strategy.
“We want to give them the tools so they can become better members. we want to be able to tell them this is the direction that we think that you should take and give me advice so that way they can prosper in the future,” he said.
Yellowknife and YKDFN were put into an accelerated program to develop their joint economic strategy because of the existing relationship between the two, according to Mayor Rebecca Alty.
“We realized over the past two years is that we’re now where we have stuff that we didn’t know, we didn’t know,” said Alty. “When we evaluated how much we knew about culture and heritage and the history of each other, I think we’re in a better space now that we know, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Betsina said the relationship had improved in the past couple of years.