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Dechinta Łiwe Camp
Dechinta has been working hard to create accessible, innovative and community responsive public programming for the past four years, building new and stronger community partnerships with other programs, and creating more points of access to Dechinta programming. 2022 was the third year that we offered an open-to-public fish camp, or Łıwe Camp, based on Mackenzie Island in Chief Drygeese Territory. With two years of experience, Łıwe Camp continues to gain popularity in the surrounding community areas.
“The students have really appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Dene culture (such as how to respect the land, catch and cut fish). They have seen first hand the connection between the land, culture, and language. The hands-on experience was amazing!”
- Student Group Leader, Łiwe Camp 2022
Łiwe Camp: 2022 Overview
In 2022 we hosted over 700 individuals during our 3 weeks of public programming. In total, we facilitated programming on Mackenzie Island for 7 weeks from late February to early April 2022. This included staff training, Łıwe Camp, programming partnerships with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and accredited programming. The daily nets meant there were lots of fish caught and shared. It is easy to see why many people choose Łıwe Camp as being the highlight of the year for Dechinta.
“Dechinta Łiwe Camp: Fishing and governance on Dene Land” is a short film shot, edited, and produced by Dene filmmaker and Dechinta staff member Morgan Tsetta. The film premiered at the 2021 NAISA conference in July 2021, and was published online by Dechinta shortly after. The Łiwe Camp Short Film has had 1.6k views on Youtube since it was published, and 690 views since it was uploaded on Instagram. The film has been used as part of our curriculum for our post-secondary courses and was the feature film in a screening at McGill University. The film has been incredibly successful and has shown us that online spaces have an important place in knowledge dissemination and accessibility —there are thousands of people who now have a deeper understanding of Dene life, land, and the world of a Dene winter fish camp on Tı̨ndeè (Great Slave Lake), and are able to access this learning from their homes. Through this film we were able to see how sharing this knowledge, and making it accessible to others, expands the transformative potential of local Indigenous land-based activities such as Łiwe camp. Watch the video on YouTube here.
In addition to the creation of the film, Sydney created a Łiwe Camp ‘field guide.’ This resource was originally created to add additional theory and context to the short film and to develop an additional learning resource for students and communities. The field guide aims to show readers how the Dene continue to govern themselves according to their own laws and resist the ongoing forces of colonialism in the North, to encourage readers to think critically about what it means to acknowledge Dene land in practice, and to learn about how a Dene land-based university operates on the ground. Since its release, we have used the ‘Łiwe Camp field guide’ as part of the curriculum for our post-secondary courses, and as a community resource to hand out to participants at our community events. Since it was published, we have distributed around 1000 copies of the field guide to Northern community members and students. Download the field guide here.
“Everything was so well organized. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable. Having the fish nets close for kids to see was incredible. Irene was an awesome teacher doing the fish demo and Rena’s bannock was so good. A really incredible space and set up”
- Łiwe Camp participant
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