Ottawa Snubs Dene in North of 60 Talks

Friday, August 22, 2003 at 14:48




A leader in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca region says he’s disappointed by the federal government’s inability to attend an important gathering with the Dene people earlier this week.


The meeting wrapped up yesterday at a remote location in the Northwest Territories where over one hundred Dene elders, councillors and band members discussed the rights being denied to them north of the 60th parallel.


Prince Albert Grand Council Vice Chief Don Deronger explains that when the boundaries of Nunavut were created, the federal government refused to meet with the Dene people and chose to negotiate solely with the Inuit.


He argues that because the Dene’s ancestors roamed that land for thousands of years, both fishing and hunting, they should have a say in what takes place in that region.


He adds the Dene don’t expect the Nunavut boundaries to be redrawn, they just want official recognition of their right to be there.


Deronger says the matter is before the courts right now.


Incidentally, bad weather was the reason cited for Ottawa’s absence from this week’s meeting.