Nío Nę P'énę' Sōdzane'ín
In 2019, our summer program called Nío Nę P'énę' Sōdzane'ín, took place in the K'á Tǝ́ area (Backbone of the Mackenzie Mountains) and within the shared territory of the Shúhtaot’ın̨ ę and the Tu Łidlini (Ross River) Dena. We were based at Dechenla Lodge, located about 30 kilometres east of the Yukon/NWT border, along the Canol Road, and within the extensive willow flats known as K’á Tǝ́. As the Dene names of the lodge and larger area reflects, we were above the tree line and in the heart of the mountains. It is an important place for caribou; at least five different herds of mountain caribou gather here in the summer and fall. We were incredibly happy to be joined by Elders from both sides of the mountains and they shared extensive personal history and knowledge of the area. We were excited to work with new community partners, including Tulıt́ 'a and Norman Wells Ɂehdzo Got'ı̨ nę (Renewable Resources Councils) Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) with funding from
the Lawson Foundation. The program was developed by Dena Elders, who have requested a focus on Dena Law, Sovereignty, Respect for Land and History. Each week had a different focus, with students learning from the extensive teachings and histories. We made drymeat, tanned hides, set nets and listened to the many stories shared by Elders. Students earned credit for two courses from the University of British Columbia. These two courses are the foundation for the Dechinta Certificate in Land and Community Based Research. We are continuing this program in 2021 with a series of community based programs around caribou.