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Stories from the Land national podcast tour coming to Yellowknife

Dene Nahjo and Aurora College are proud to be co-hosting a groundbreaking podcast and digital media project centred on Indigenous storytelling and reconciliation as it makes its way to Yellowknife on November 7.

The Stories from the Land podcast, created by Anishinaabe comedian, writer and media maker Ryan McMahon, is traveling across the country to collect stories from diverse Indigenous communities aimed at (re)connecting Indigenous Peoples to their lands.

Through storytelling and digital media workshops, the tour will result in 60 original audio stories on reconciliation that will be heard across Canada, empowering Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples to create a healthy pathway forward.

“Sharing our stories and passing on the teachings is how we learn to better appreciate and understand the importance our connections to the places we come from,” says Dëneze Nakehk’o of Dene Nahjo. “Updating these traditions in a modern context is the next step. We’re looking forward to working with Ryan McMahon, and creating better appreciation and understanding through his podcasts.”

Yellowknife Events

There will be live storytelling and audio workshop events taking place in Yellowknife throughout the day on Monday, November 7.

  • Aurora College: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Sir John Franklin: 1 p.m. – 3:25 p.m.
  • PUBLIC EVENT: Explorer Hotel, Katimavik B – 7-9 p.m.

For more information, please contact:

Dëneze Nakehk’o

(867) 446-3633

Dene Nahjo Seeking Northern, Indigenous Artists for 2016 Winter Market

Dene Nahjo is looking for Indigenous artists and designers from the North to exhibit and sell their work during our second annual Winter Market in Yellowknife on December 18, 2016 from 12-5 p.m.

Interested contemporary and traditional Indigenous artists are asked to submit photo examples of three pieces of quality work along with a short bio about themselves and their art.

As space is limited, applications will be reviewed by a selection committee. Artwork should celebrate Indigenous culture and the land.   

The deadline to apply is midnight on Sunday, November 13.

Tables will cost $60 each.

Please contact:


Photo credit: Stanislav Sedov (CC)

Social Media Contest @denenahjo #urbanhidetanning

Dene Nahjo invites you to participate in our Social Media Contest for our upcoming Moose & Caribou Hide Tanning Program  July 11-29, 2016.

Our hashtag for the social media contest is: #urbanhidetanning 
We encourage the use of the hashtag #urbanhidetanning on all public posting of pictures of our upcoming Hide Tanning Program. Winners of the social media contest will be selected each week to win some of Tania Larsson Studio’s jewellery.

Instructions for Contest:
1. Tag @DeneNahjo on Twitter and/or Instagram and include the hashtag ‘#urbanhidetanning‘ to win one of three weekly draws for jewellery by Tania Larsson Studio! Winners will be announced each following
Monday on Facebook.

2. We will encourage people to share photos and videos using the hashtag ‘#urbanhidetanning’ and tagging @DeneNahjo to three commonly used platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Tania Larsson Studios

Good luck to everyone! We cant wait to see you come visit our Hide Tanning Program

and see your videos & pictures!!

You’re Invited!


Dene Nahjo – Moose & Caribou Hide Tanning
Please join us to celebrate the opening of our new Moose & Caribou Hide Tanning Revitalization Program.

Location: Somba K’e Civic Plaza, Yellowknife.
Date: July 11, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m.

Hosted by:

Dene Nahjo –Tides Canada Initiatives.
Tea & Bannock will be provided
We look forward to seeing the residents & visitors of Somba K’e there!

Tides Canada Project Logo Reverse


Hide Tanning in the City of Somba K’e



Dene Nahjo to host caribou and moose hide tanning camp in downtown Yellowknife, NT

Somba K’e, Denendeh — Dene Nahjo invites the public to experience the revitalization of an ancient traditional and cultural practice through the teachings of our Elders during a three-week caribou and moose hide tanning camp at Somba K’e Civic Plaza (Yellowknife Tennis Courts) this summer, July 11-29, 2016 Monday – Friday.

Elders, instructors and experienced hide tanners will join together to tan caribou and moose hides using various regional techniques, while creating traditional tanning tools in the process. Members of the public are invited to come to the site to observe the traditional tanning, in action. There will be opportunities to touch and try the tools, ask questions of the tanners, and enjoy some tea and bannock and traditional stories.

Program Hours:

Mondays: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Tuesdays: 12:00pm – 7:00pm

Wednesdays: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Thursdays: 10:00am – 4:00pm

Fridays: 10:00am – 4:00pm

The camp will help to create a space for critical reflection and discussion around the history of colonization in Canada, Indigenous political mobilization, Northern health and wellness, and cultural revitalization.

“Reclaiming Indigenous knowledge and revitalizing cultures is the path by which Indigenous peoples can transcend the damage created by colonization, which has had devastating impacts on Indigenous people and communities’ health and well-being,” says Dene Nahjo project director Iris Catholique.

“Hide tanning is an important contemporary cultural practice, but the opportunities to learn are not readily accessible. This moose and caribou hide tanning camp will open the space for intergenerational knowledge exchange, and give the general public get a better understanding of why hide tanning is so important to many Indigenous peoples in the North.”

The hide tanning revitalization project is made possible by the generous contributions of the City of Yellowknife, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Education, Culture and Employment), GNWT Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Denesoline Corporation Ltd,  Sacred Fire Foundation and numerous volunteers.

Dene Nahjo, a project of Tides Canada Initiatives, is a new generation of leaders and community builders working to advance social and environmental justice for Northern peoples and promote Indigenous leadership.


For more information, please contact:

To find out information on how to sign up as a participant to learn how to smoke and tan moose and caribou hide contact
Iris Catholique

Dene Nahjo Project Director



Media Contacts:


Melaw Nakehk’o

Dene Nahjo Founding Member



Tania Larsson

Dene Nahjo Founding Member


Hide Tanning Revitalization

Dene Nahjo to host caribou and moose hide tanning camp in downtown Yellowknife


Somba K’e, Denendeh — Dene Nahjo invites the public to experience the revitalization of an ancient cultural practice through the teachings of Elders during a three-week caribou and moose hide tanning camp at Somba K’e Civic Plaza (Yellowknife City Hall) this summer, July 11-29.


Elders, instructors, and experienced hide tanners will join together to tan over 10 hides using various regional techniques, while creating traditional tanning tools in the process.


Each weekday Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,  Tuesdays 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. members of the public are invited to come to the site to observe the traditional tanning in action. There will be opportunities to touch and try the tools, ask questions of the tanners, and enjoy some tea and bannock.


Job opportunity with Tides Canada in Yellowknife!

Summer Student, Administrative and Communications Assistant

Yellowknife, NWT | 4-5 days/week | Apply by May 6, 2016

From Canada’s big cities to its remote land, waters, and rural communities, Tides Canada provides uncommon solutions for the common good.

As a national charity, we connect and empower a wide range of people and initiatives across the country to take on tough social and environmental challenges, building a stronger Canada. We work to accelerate positive change and achieve greater impact across the country by bringing giving, investing, and doing under a single roof.

The Administrative and Communications Assistant (Summer Student) will support data entry, logistics, proposal editing, and office management activities in order to enhance and support the work of Tides Canada’s Northern programs. Our Northern programs include encouraging northern leadership and capacity, promoting knowledge and wise stewardship of natural resources, and fostering strong, healthy northern youth and families.

View the full posting here.

Upcoming Event: National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit

On April 29 and 30, the National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit is bringing together Canada’s leadership and innovation programs, young leaders and corporate and government leaders to architect the first national plan on youth leadership and innovation.

Right now, we have a federal government that’s more eager than ever in history to create opportunities for youth to lead in the economy. Over two days, we’re going to develop a strategy to deliver to the Minister of Youth (who is also, incidentally, the Prime Minister of Canada) on how to develop more youth in Canada as leaders and innovators.

The Summit is on April 29 and 30 is free-of-charge and is reserving spots for organizations and young leaders from across Canada. There will also be funding available to support the travel and accommodation of those who may not otherwise be able to attend.

You can find more information and the application at


Dene Nahjo members featured in new online magazine

Dene Nahjo founding member Tania Larsson is featured on the cover of Narrative Witness 2: Indigenous Peoples, Australia-United States, an online collection of writing and photography published by the International Writing Program.

The photo by Kali Spitzer (Kaska Dena/Jewish artist from the Yukon) features Larsson adorned in traditional Gwich’in jewelry reclaimed through her art and research at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where she and Spitzer study.

The portrait of Larsson is part of a larger photo essay by Spitzer titled ‘An Exploration of Resilience,’ featuring portraits of Indigenous women. Those photos include fellow Dene Nahjo founding member Melaw Nakehk’o, a Dene artist, mother and actor.


Melaw Nakehk’o, photographed by Kali Spitzer


Tania Larsson, photographed by Kali Spitzer

Tania Larsson, photographed by Kali Spitzer

“Many of our relatives were and continue to be inappropriately photographed and misrepresented,” Spitzer writes in her artist statement. “I am working to redress this from behind and in front of the lens by creating images of contemporary indigenous people from an indigenous perspective. Through the timeless lens of the tintype, and in collaboration with my subjects, the relationship between the process of creation and the person being photographed is made manifest.”

Check out Spitzer’s full photo collection and artist statement here.

The International Writing Program summarizes the new collection on its website:

“In fall 2015, 32 indigenous writers and photographers living in Australia and the United States came together in an online exchange to create fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography centred on the theme of ‘narrative witness.’ Led by writing and photography workshop facilitators, the group workshopped their photo essays and texts online over the course of two months.”



Lessons in Toolmaking

Check out this You Tube video of Dene Nahjo founding member Tania Larsson (Tetlit Gwich’in and Swedish), a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe and 2015 participant in the Artist Leadership Program of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), describes forging new tools modeled on 3D scans of tools in the museum’s collections. She also shares the worst lesson she ever learned about caring for tools.




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.

The Gender and Public Sector Leadership



On January 21, 2016 IPAC-NWT and Dene Nahjo held a panel discussion moderated by Nina Larsson, author of “Mind the Gender Gap” (2015) & Founding Member of Dene Nahjo, a policy paper published through the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship.

“Mind the Gender Gap” is a policy analysis which identifies ways in which the GNWT can ensure that Indigenous women have access to and occupy decision making roles. Drawing on the Scandinavian model, this report shines light on gender equality in the Northwest Territories (NWT) public sector. To address the lack of diversity and inclusion in senior management positions, the report examines gender equality policy; the representation of Indigenous women in senior management positions; and breaking the barriers to work/life balance.

The Gender and Public Sector Leadership in the NWT event examined and expanded on the issues put forward in “Mind the Gender Gap” by presenting current GNWT initiatives, visions for the future, and the lessons and best practices that can be drawn from the lived experiences of Indigenous women in the public service.

Read the policy paper here:

You can check out the full-length recording of the January 21, 2016 event held with Dene Nahjo & IPAC on Gender and Public Sector Leadership in the NWT on this YouTube channel. You can find it, and recordings of other recent events here.

You can also provide feedback about the event held @DeneNahjo on gender? We want to hear from you – please take a quick survey:

Dene Nahjo’s Kyla Kakfwi-Scott speaks at Gordon Foundation’s 50th anniversary

Dene Nahjo co-founder and steering committee member Kyla Kakfwi-Scott was one of the speakers invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation on December 1 in Ottawa.

In her speech, Kyla, a Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship alumnus, spoke about Dene Nahjo and gave shout-outs to fellow northern groups and institutions, like the Dechinta Centre for Research and LearningOur Voices and Qanak. The Day of Dialogue presentations were intended to identify unique approaches to addressing community needs in the North.

You can watch the full afternoon program below. Kyla’s speech starts at 38:42, and her concluding remarks are at 1:19:50.

(Photo credit: The Gordon Foundation)

Dene Nahjo’s Melaw Nakehk’o makes Hollywood red carpet debut

Dene Nahjo founding member Melaw Nakehk’o made her red carpet debut in Hollywood last night at the world premiere of The Revenant, a new film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Alejandro Iñárritu.

It was the first film for Nahehk’o, a Dehcho and Denesuline Dene artist and mother from Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson) in Denendeh (Northwest Territories). She plays the lead female role of Powaqa, the kidnapped daughter of an Arikara warrior.

On the red carpet, Nakehk’o modelled a dress resulting from a recent collaboration between Indigenous artist Christi Belcourt with Italian design house Valentino, along with jewelry by Keri Ataumbi of Ataumbi Metalsalso an Indigenous artist from Santa Fe.

During interviews, Nakehk’o spoke about the importance of supporting “culturally appropriate collaborations” between Indigenous artists and fashion designers, calling out the cultural theft that often takes place when designers become “inspired” by Indigenous arts and fail to give credit.

Nakehk’o also spoke to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America. When asked how she prepared for her first-ever role as Powaqa, she said it was through honouring the lives of Indigenous women, who are subjected to disproportionate levels of violence.

Watch her red carpet interview here:

Despite it being her acting debut, Nakehk’o’s performance has also garnered positive reviews, including this statement from producer Mary Parent in a recent interview:

And there’s the Native American daughter, kidnapped by French explorers, and rescued by Glass. The latter lady (Melaw Nakehk’o) plays a crucial part in the end of the film, saving his life with one icy look.

“You think it won’t end well. But it’s one of my favorite shots in the movie. You see the integrity and the honor and the quid pro quo. She’s got this strength and this nobility and she found her way home,” says producer Mary Parent.

Read Nakehk’o’s interview with CBC North Trail’s End host Lawrence Nayally:

N.W.T.’s Melaw Nakeh’ko makes her Hollywood debut in The Revenant

More photos from the evening:


Actress Melaw Nakehk’o attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “The Revenant” at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 16, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Dec. 15, 2015 – Source: Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America)

Melaw Nakehk'o with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo courtesy of Melaw Nakehk'o.

Melaw Nakehk’o with co-star Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo courtesy of Melaw Nakehk’o.










Photo credit: TCL Chinese Theatres.

Photo credit: TCL Chinese Theatres.

















Melaw Nakehk'o with co-star Tom Hardy. Photo courtesy of Melaw Nakehk'o.

Melaw Nakehk’o with co-star Tom Hardy. Photo courtesy of Melaw Nakehk’o.























Photo credit: Amos Scott,

Photo credit: Amos Scott,



































Watch the trailer for the film: