About Us

Dechinta was created ten 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 by academics, Elders, community leaders, and northern students 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 Canadian North.

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 and Indigenous communities that are radically self-determining, healthy, sustainable, and connected to traditional knowledge and practices. We aim to ensure that the education we offer is accessible to all community members, including parents, youth, women, and 2SLGBTQIA+ 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.

Vision

Our continuing vision for Dechinta is threefold: (1) 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; (2) to create innovative training and research programs that are central to the development of an emerging northern research and knowledge economy; and to (3) 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.

Our Commitments

Indigenous-Led and Northern Focused 

Dechinta is recognized as a leading organization in the field of higher education for its leadership in Indigenous land-based education in the north. We have been committed to delivering programs created by Indigenous Northerners for the past decade, and our curriculums are developed specifically to cover critical Northern issues from an Indigenous and Northern perspective. Our programs are led by leading Indigenous academics, experts, and elders, many of whom are from Northern communities, and our courses prepare students for leadership roles in their communities, with a focus on Indigenous law, governance and women’s leadership.

DECHINTA DAY ELEVEN-3.jpg

Land-Based and Culturally Informed

Dechinta is committed to delivering culturally relevant educational programming that prioritizes reconnection, skill-building, knowledge and practice with the land. Our curriculum and method of delivery has been internationally recognized. We understand the importance of being together on the land, learning with the land, and having a strong relationship to the land. Dechinta directly fulfills many of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s education recommendations, including closing the education gap by delivering culturally appropriate and community developed curricula, enabling parent and community responsibility and control, and respecting and honouring Indigenous government relationships.

fish camp-32.jpg

Family Oriented and Gender Inclusive

Our programming is grounded in a holistic approach to education, which includes comprehensive wrap around services such as free integrated childcare, on-site counselling, and health services. This allows us to successfully bridge the unique barriers that northern Indigenous people, and especially women, face when accessing post-secondary education. Dechinta is committed to creating programs that are family inclusive and safe spaces for gender non-conforming and Indigenous queer and two-spirit folks. We create curriculum that ensures all Indigenous women, girls, and queer/trans/Two-spirit people are provided with safe, no-barrier, permanent, and meaningful access to their cultures and languages in order to restore, reclaim, and revitalize their cultures and identities.

DECHINTA DAY SEVEN-100.jpg