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Dene host cultural carnival

Daniel T'seleie
Northern News Services

N'dilo (Mar 29/04) - The Yellowknives Dene hosted a cultural carnival last week, with a variety of demonstrations that ranged from traditional beadwork to animal butchering.

NNSL Photo

Rainer Erasmus, a Grade 7 student at K'alemi Dene School in N'Dilo, demonstrates how to set up a leg-hold trap. - Daniel T'seleie/NNSL photo

"The purpose was to demonstrate our Yellowknives First Nation skills and knowledge," said Mary Rose Sundberg, an organizer of the event.

The carnival was sponsored in part by the language centre in Dettah, also known as goyatiko. Events were held in the Dettah Community Hall and N'Dilo gym.

Traditional legends -- called yamoozha -- and art are used by the Yellowknives Dene to help teach their language to younger generations.

"People get together, we learn from each other," said Michael Black of N'Dilo. Black speaks five languages and also makes traditional drums and carvings.

People were also encouraged to eat traditional food. Wild meat was cooked outside on a fire and served to anyone who wanted to try some.

The carnival attracted a variety of guests, including executives from DeBeers who happened to be in town for meetings.

Students from Yellowknife schools also came out to learn about the culture of the Yellowknives Dene. They participated in hand games, ate wild meat, went for dog sled rides and got to see a caribou be butchered.

Betty Harnum and Mary Rose Sundberg, organizers of the event, hope to hold the carnival twice a year at the schools.