top of page
DAY 4 AND 5-35.jpg

About Dechinta

The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning is an Indigenous land-based initiative delivering accredited post-secondary educational and research experiences in the North. Led by northern experts, Elders, knowledge holders, academics and community members, Dechinta aims to engage students, researchers and community in transformative academic and research programs based on the unique needs of Dene and Inuvialuit communities. 
Dechinta was created thirteen years ago out of a research project that identified the barriers Northern Indigenous communities were facing when trying to access post-secondary education. In response, Dechinta programming was designed with the goal of offering accessible, holistic, and family-centered education rooted in Indigenous knowledge. Over a decade later, we continue to offer a rich educational experience that is respectful of northern expertise, culture, families, and the needs of communities, while also leading the way in securing an emerging knowledge sector in the North.


Mission, Mandate and Vision

Mission: At Dechinta, we are brought together by our care for the land, each other, and our desire to revitalize and practice Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Dechinta is dedicated to creating a future of Indigenous cultural revitalization through a reconnection with the land. Through our programs, we strive to create Northern Indigenous communities that are radically self-determining, healthy, sustainable, and connected to Indigenous knowledge and practices. We aim to ensure that the education we offer is accessible to all community members, including parents, youth, women, and Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ people.

Mandate: We have a mandate to serve the needs of northern Indigenous populations through education, research, and community programs. We are mandated to deliver Indigenous centered arts, culture, language and educational programming in an innovative land-based environment. We have a commitment to build educational capacity and employment opportunities for students and youth in northern Indigenous communities. We aim to increase the accessibility of land-based programming for school aged youth, young adults transitioning out of high school and into post-secondary employment, and their families.

VisionOur Vision for Dechinta is Threefold:

  • to offer culturally informed Indigenous educational programming designed and developed in the North, guided by the needs of communities and a relationship to the land; 

  • to create innovative training and research programs that are central to the development of an emerging northern research and knowledge economy; and to

  • work collaboratively with community members, Elder professors, and knowledge holders to offer support in creating programs that foster community well-being and cultural revitalization in the North

LIWE CAMP DAY 2-104.jpg

Where We Work

Our core administrative team is located in Denendeh/Northwest Territories, on the homelands of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. In the last decade we have provided or partnered on programming in several regions across the North, including Tu Lidlini, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik.

As always, we are profoundly grateful to the Yellowknives Dene First Nation for working so closely with us over the past decade to anchor our organization and regional programming in embodied Dene ethics and values. This has been key to the success of Dechinta. Our organization exists because of the generosity and hospitality of Elders, knowledge holders, artists and harvesters in the North and we are grateful to work alongside their brilliance.

Oct Post #1-3.png
DAY 3 EDITS-22.jpg

Our Approach

Our organization is rooted in a connection to the land and local Dene ways of knowing and understanding. Our programs are shaped and defined by Dene laws, values, and practices.

We take a multigenerational and family approach to learning_edited.jpg

What We Do

Our work at Dechinta is rooted in three main pillars: Post-secondary accredited programs, research, and community engagement.

  • We offer 6+ university accredited courses each year, in all seasons

  • We host fish camps, hide camps, arts and culture camps, language workshops, governance workshops, and community youth programs

  • We carry out research projects, including: conferences, speaker series, publications, and creating resources and toolkits

  • Harvesting is a core part of our programming, enabling staff and students to contribute traditional foods to their communities.

Our Impact

At Dechinta, we have seen the significant impact that bringing people together on the land, learning with the land, and cultivating a strong relationship to the land has had for communities and individuals in the North and beyond. Our students, staff and community members learn more than just land-based skills when attending Dechinta programs. They learn community governance, Dene ethics and laws, protocols and practices of harvesting, land stewardship, leadership skills, history and stories, language, confidence and pride around identity, and cultural knowledge and practices. These outcomes have been cited across various fields as key indicators of the success of land-based programs and are evidenced to be key components to larger projects of fostering cultural revitalization and self-determination, improving health and wellness outcomes, generating food security, and addressing climate change.

dechinta day 4-25.jpg

Values and Principles

Over a three-week period, during a Hide Camp in 2021, the Dechinta team, along with Elders and community members came together to reflect upon Dechinta's purpose and articulate a set of values and principles to help guide our activities today and Into the future.


These values are not new. Deeply rooted in Dene law, they have been put into practice within Dechinta for many years.  Capturing our values and principles, and writing them down, reminds us of what we care most deeply about and provides us with a compass so that the decisions we make represent the best version of ourselves. 


Our values and principles are rooted in Dene laws and reflect what we believe in as an organization and act as a compass for how we make decisions


We share what we have. 

  • We share with the community. This is how we survived over the millennia, and we know that Dechinta is truly successful when the community we are connected to benefits and is successful too. 

  • We share knowledge amongst each other. Everyone has unique gifts, and we are generous with sharing what we know with each other when it benefits others. 

  • We share our language and culture.  We honour our Elders and ancestors when we teach others our stories and language.  


We care deeply for each other and the land.

  • We treat each other as family, and are there for each other when someone needs help, whether they ask or not.

  • We share our challenges and our successes knowing that we are surrounded by people who love us and can support us in good ways. 

  • We will never harm each other and will make hard choices to ensure we do the right thing for the whole.  

  • Being self-reliant is a way of showing our love for each other, because when we're self-reliant, we are in a better position to contribute. 


We show respect and act with integrity.

  • We show respect to oneself. Feeling good about oneself, taking pride in doing well and striving for our highest potential honours our ancestors and the hard work they have done. 

  • We respect leaders and elders who are generous and share their experience and wisdom with us so that we can be better. 

  • We respect the youth, as they represent our future. 

  • We respect the land and all living things and protect them for future generations. 


We are stronger together.

  • We are involved and have a voice on matters that affect us. 

  • We are inclusive and recognize that every person offers gifts that makes us collectively stronger.

  • We are stronger when we co-create and work closely with community to develop and scale programs. 

bottom of page