Saturday, March 20, marked the first day of spring. Spring Equinox means that both day and night have equal amounts of time to share their gifts on Dene land. The sun and moon don’t compete. They are equal.
Much like the relationship between the sun and the moon, we, the Dene, don’t compete with each other, nor do we compete with our land relatives who have lived here with us since time immemorial. And even when we’re in the middle of reforming the Dene Nation Constitution and by-laws, we always take into account our existing relationship with the land and all of our relations that inhabit it.
When I think of the future of the Dene People, I remember the fundamental principles and values that we made with our land relatives years ago. The land we inhabit today was gifted to us by Creator, and we were put here to work in cooperation with the animals, the water, the air and the environment. Our relationship to the land is bound by fundamental principles and values, which include sharing, respect, caring, equality, self-respect and pride.
As Dene people, we relate to the land in a different way – we understand ourselves to be as one with the land, air, environment and our relationships with the animals to that of family. We, the Dene, were given the sacred responsibility to ensure the survival of our lands and we will act on its behalf as required.
The land is sacred to us, as it holds the blood of our ancestors. Those fortunate enough to walk amongst our ancestors, with us, shall walk with reverence and abide by our strict Dene Laws, as we do.
As a Nation, we intend to reside upon our lands, living life as we always have, as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and the grass grows. We can only survive and thrive by working collaboratively together. It is how we have governed ourselves in the past and it is how we will forge our own future based upon the laws of the land, for the benefit of all residents of Denendeh.