Indigenous Emerging Leadership Pilot Workshop

Emerging Indigenous leaders from across Canada’s Northern territories gathered in Dettah, NWT from December 4 to 5 to take part in a new pilot program that seeks to empower a new generation of leadership grounded in Northern Indigenous values and tradition.

The Northern Indigenous Leadership Program, under development by Dene Nahjo, is designed to challenge colonial notions of leadership, governance, politics, community and identity amongst youth from various Nations across the North, and enable emerging leaders to put those values into practice. It is expected to be rolled out across the North in the new year.

“Dene Nahjo is committed to professional development as a means of constant improvement,” said Dene Nahjo Project Director Iris Catholique. “Leadership roles and values are ever evolving. Staying grounded in our Elders’ teachings and experience while discussing modern techniques for action will prepare Northern emerging leaders to face real issues in today’s world.”

Invited participants from groups like Our Voices, ReMatriate and Dene Nahjo, along with Jane Glassco fellowship alumni and members of various First Nations, attended the gathering where they heard from current and former Indigenous leaders, politicians, Elders and academics.

Sessions focused on the topics of Indigenous leadership values, Indigenous leadership in action, gender dynamics in Indigenous politics, Indigenous nationhood, sovereignty and self-determination, and the history of colonialism in Canada. Workshops were also complemented by facilitated skill-building sessions.

“Elders and leaders were very supportive of the work we are doing, and the group left with a common understanding of nationhood building and actions required,” said Nina Larsson, a member of Dene Nahjo’s steering committee. “We look forward to working with Nations across our three Northern territories to deliver this program fitted for their specific cultures and traditional knowledge.”

Dene Nahjo is a new generation of leaders and community builders working to advance social and environmental justice for northern peoples and promote indigenous leadership. By living, learning and celebrating our culture on the land through the guidance of elders, we strive to foster emerging leaders, strengthen relationships and create long-term, positive change in the North.

Dene Nahjo’s mission is to advance social and environmental justice for Northern peoples while promoting Indigenous leadership by fostering emerging leaders. We strive to live, learn and celebrate our cultures, languages and Indigenous values on the land, guided by our Elders, to strengthen relationships in the North and create long-term, positive change. Dene Nahjo’s vision is Land, Language and Culture, Forever.

Next Steps

Dene Nahjo is planning to host a facilitation certification training program in April 2016 for its founding members and invited participants from all the regions of the north. The four-day training program will provide the tools to bring the Indigenous Emerging Leadership Program to all NWT regions and communities. The Indigenous Emerging Leadership Program is being finalized and will be formatted into 2-4 modules. Once finalized, program information will be available to the public on our webpage. Outreach in the communities is planned for 2016-2017.

If you are interested in obtaining further information on the program, contact us at Dene Nahjo at or by telephone at (867) 444-3363.

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