Dene community in Canada’s Northwest Territories celebrates self-government agreement

Deline, Northwest Territories. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
Deline, Northwest Territories. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
The Dene and Metis community of Deline in Canada’s Northwest Territories was joined by  federal and territorial politicians this month to mark its new self-government agreement.

“Our negotiating team worked very hard over the course of eighteen years to reach this agreement with Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories,” said Gina Dolphus, presdient of the Deline Land Corporation,  in a statement this month.

“In March 2014, 85% of Délįnę beneficiaries who cast ballots voted yes to this agreement, giving it an overall approval rate of 65%. This agreement was guided by the vision of our Elders and is a legacy for our children and grandchildren for generations to come,” she said.

Community profile: Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada

Location: Southwest shore of Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Population: 559, primarily Dene, a Canadian aboriginal group (Statistics Northwest Territories)

Language: English, North Slavey (a Canadian aboriginal language)

Unemployment rate: 23.9 (Statistics Northwest Territories)

The agreement will make Deline the first Northwest Territories community to be self-governed, giving it direct control over areas like education, social services and culture.

“This agreement is the culmination of many years of hard work for the people of Délı̨nę and is the first community-based self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories to be negotiated in a region that has an existing land claim agreement,”  Bob McLeod,  the premiere of the Northwest Territories, said in a statement. “The GNWT is committed to working with the Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government to implement this historic agreement.”

Danny Gaudet, Deline’s chief negotiator, told CBC News earlier this month that he expects the community government will be up and running by April 2016.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Deline, NWT – Can tourism save this town?, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Ombudsman hopes for Sami rights ratification after election, Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Arctic policy up for remake, Barents Observer

United States:  AFN convention expected to bring $6 million for Anchorage merchants, Alaska Dispatch News







Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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