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Dene Nation postpones national assembly, new date TBD

The Dene Nation has postponed its national assembly, with no date set for when it will take place.

The Annual General Assembly and elections for the Dene National Chief were supposed to take place in Fort Simpson between September 14 and 16, but will not proceed as planned. 

The event has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak throughout the NWT. Masks were made mandatory on Wednesday as the GNWT tries to stem the spread of the virus.

In a statement, current Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya quoted Fort Good Hope Elder, Gabe Kochon — who recently became the first person to die of COVID-19 in the NWT — saying people should “Go back on the land, it is where we as Dene belong…it is where we are strong.”

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Yakeleya is planning to run for re-election as National Chief.

Yakeleya has served one three-year term as Dene National Chief after being elected to replace Bill Erasmus in August 2018.

He will be running against Gerald Antione of Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation who submitted his name during the application process, which closed on August 11.

The executive council will choose a new date at a later point. Campaigning and all election activities are suspended until that date is picked.

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