A Vision For 7 Generations

Mama with Great grandchild

I am Desuline, Dene, supporting  the creation of a land-based Cultural Healing camp on my family’s traditional lands, In Northern Saskatchewan along Lake Athabasca. 

In  the late sixties my family,  under threat of jail, moved us into the small hamlet of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, because  that is where the Indian residential school was.

In 1974, Chief Fred Marcel, who was then the Chief of our First Nation, now known as Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, helped my Dad, Isidore Deranger ((Djeskelni) to take some of his children back to our traditional lands to reconnect with our traditions.  The Catholic church had already implemented a policy to “kill the Indian in the child” and was succeeding in largely preventing us from using our Dene language and culture. Instead of allowing us to be be proud of our heritage as Indigenous people they instilled shame in us for being Indigenous. I emphasize that we were children. One of my brothers entered residential school when he was only five years old and this experience impacted his entire life because of the trauma he experienced.

Our experience on the land  saved our lives.  My Dad was a visionary. He knew that the land was an integral part of our culture. The water is alive; the sand dunes are magnificent.  We were fortunate that our dad was able to take his family back to our traditional hunting  territory. Every person with my Dad was transformed by the land and that connection stayed with them all their life.

We began burying family members who have recently passed on the land.  The summer of 2021, the family took our late brother Patrick’s ashes to be scattered on that same traditional territory to honour his final request. This act reviliaized  a renewed  interest in the land and its healing powers. 

The Vision for the the cultural camp,  once established, will be a traditional Dene cultural camp and available to all First Nations across Canada.

We rely on your donation to assist us with provisions, building supplies, tools and transportation for five shelters. The call of the land is strong within the group who accompanied my dad in 1974, AND nothing will deter them from exercising their sovereignty over our traditional hunting lands.  

This camp will positively impact youth who experience being on the land, listening to the drum, foraging for food, hunting, and fishing. They will learn related skills to Mother Earth as our ancestors did for thousands of years.

It will be a life-changing experience. It will be a turning point in their lives, as it was for members of my family in 1974 who went to the land with my Dad, Isadore Deranger (Djeskelni).

Support and donations can be made here https://www.gofundme.com/manage/yxqfzc-the-next-generation

My dad This photo is in the museum.
Brothers across from me Roger, next to him Rossi, next to me Christopher.

shelter while building a log cabin 2022

Access to the traditional territory is either by boat or plane with floats.

Initial log cabin built in 1974 by my dad.
Their journey began in April 2022

setting up camp before the rain 2022

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