My family were environmentalists well before the term became popularized.
We are Denesuline people, from Northern Saskatchewan. We are strong, proud. Stewards, of Mother Earth. We take this responsibility seriously.
In the 70’s our dad answered the call of the land, and took his older children, to our traditional hunting lands. They hadn’t been back there for over 40 Decades until last summer of 2021. This is my dad’s legacy.
He answered the calling of the traditional lands, Luezan Tue, and inspired four generations to return to Djeskelni. He passed his baton to the next generation. He reaffirmed our sacred connection to the land. Everyone he took back to the land were transformed and carries the calling deep within their spirit.
In August, 2021, a small group of about of 17 family members went back to our land, organized by my nephew, Donald Deranger, who had gone there with Baba in the 1970s. They went to spread my late brother Patrick’s ashes around the lake to fulfill his last wish.It is clear to me that Patrick’s death facilitated a renewed interest back to our traditional land. The family answered the calling to return to the land. It is difficult to deny how powerful this spiritual calling is.
- Increase the quality of life for seven generations by building upon our rich Denesuline traditional heritage based on being stewards of the land, lending a helping hand, and create business ventures to generate profits and financial independence. Our family embodies Dene cultural tradition the pillars of which is respect, and to honour the teachings of our ancestors.
My family, like most Indigenous families, is complicated, affected by intergenerational trauma of colonialism, and residential school.
We have sometimes temporarily lost sight of family, our connection to each other and the spirit of our traditional lands. We are easily triggered and often will cut off one another from our life.
That said, I adore my Dene family, dysfunctions and all.
I read somewhere when you change the beginning of your story it changes the end of the story.
After I wrote this blog piece I went back and changed the beginning of our story.
I remain hopeful for the next seven generations. That they will continue to answer the call of our traditional lands. I see renewed interest in some of my nephews and nieces. The calling is strong in them, and I am hopeful.
My brother, Roger for keeping traditional prophecies of the Denesuline alive.
My nephew Donald Deranger for holding the baton for the next generations, and last, but so important, my late brother Patrick, a sacred pipe holder for passing the baton to his daughter when he gave her the sacred responsibility and honour of spreading his ashes on our traditional land.
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