Dene Nation plans to reclaim education

Norman Yakeleya
Norman Yakeleya, pictured when he was Sahtu's MLA. (Photo by MyTrueNorthNow.com.)
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The Dene Nation is planning to reclaim the education system from the territory and implement  teaching that better reflects Dene values and history.

“We see the Mission and Vision as the overarching narrative of how the Dene Nation will work with partners to reframe the education system in the Northwest Territories, to respect, acknowledge, and embrace the history, culture, and unique ways of knowing and being of the Dene,” said Director of Education Jane Arychuk. 

“The Priorities are intended to help carve out the framework to move this ambitious agenda forward, while also providing concrete next steps for action.”

The plan was laid out at a meeting of Dene Nation leadership in Inuvik in April, coming after a virtual education summit in July of last year.

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National Chief Norman Yakelaya says changing education is an important step in preserving Dene culture for the future.

The organizations says they are looking for federal funding to help develop an action plan.

Earlier this week, the Dene Nation also announced plans to sign its re-written constitution in August.

In a press conference announcing plans to sign the organization’s new constitution, Yakelaya said the NWT moving forward may not even need a territorial government when Indigenous government agreements are established.

“It’s almost like the Dene Nation — there’s going to be a new government in the Northwest Territories. And when we have all the Dene settled based on the treaties eight and 11, with the modern land agreements and self-government, is there really a need for the territorial government?”

The GNWT is currently reviewing its own curriculum and is reportedly considering changing from the largely Alberta based curriculum high school and elementary students get in the NWT.

That’s because the Alberta provincial government had announced curriculum changes which would minimize teaching in residential schools, among other things.

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