By Angela Sterritt
The Tyee, October 22, 2013
Witnessing such a prominent discrepancy between the sophistication of Dene education on the land and how that was discounted in classroom learning, Freeland-Ballantyne was inspired early on in life to question her responsibilities, as someone who recognized the conflicted environment around her.
“What is the settler responsibility to Dene land claims and the state’s denial of their rights and title to the land? How do you reconcile that?” she said during an interview at her home in Yellowknife in the summer of 2013. “Are you acquiescing if you are not actively doing something to tear it apart?”
Freeland-Ballantyne said that she was taught if you want change, you have to commit your resources.
“Mine were my family, education and white privilege. I realized I have to dedicate myself to make things less destructive and less awful.”
“Like every northern student, I had to leave the North for university. And I really struggled when I started working on my degree in Ontario. I remember being really lonely — it wasn’t cold in October and I needed it to be cold. At a First Nations event they served corn and fry bread, which is fine, but it made me feel even lonelier because they were all great people but I needed my caribou.”
“From my own experience, I really connected with the idea that there needed to be a northern university.” – Kakfwi Scott
By Meagan Wohlberg
Northern Journal, August 6, 2013
Our intention is that students will have a deepened understanding of the political, socio-economic context that they live in so that it might inform the way that they make decisions with regards to their future.
– Eugene Boulanger
Our program is geread towards Northerns and Southerners, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, younger and older students- it’s geared towards anyone who’s interested in knowing more about the North.
– Eugene Boulanger
Dechinta students share success stories
Northern News Services
Published Friday, Oct. 26, 2012
After 12 weeks of on the land and academic study, seven students are the latest to graduate from the Dechinta Bush University, and they are raving about the program.
Past graduate Kristen Tanche and Brooke Hope were so impressed by what they learned, that both are considering enrolling in post secondary programs at the popular NWT university.
The university, located at Blachford Lake Lodge, about 20 minutes from Yellowknife by charter plane, offers Northern and aboriginal courses – courses which are “taught by Northern leaders, about the Northern context, with an agenda set by Northerners, supported by leading professors with relevant experience,” according to Dechinta’s website.
Courses this semester included self-determination in theory and in practice, health promotion, sustainable community development, traditional leadership, community-based research methodologies and community governance.
The opportunity to learn history and traditional languages impressed Tanche the most.
“I wanted to take Dechinta ever since it opened,” said Tanche, a financial officer with Simpson Air. She said the program exposed her to, “A lot of history of the Northwest Territories at the academic level, which you don’t really get that at other post secondary schools.”
Remaining true to traditional Dene learning, and revisiting traditional language was also a draw for Tanche.
Hope, currently living in Yellowknife and hoping to enrol in another Dechinta program, enjoyed the hands on aspect to academic work.
“It was cool to have elders out there, and being able to build relationships with the professors … we learned a lot about self-governing and self-determination,” Hope said.
Seven students graduated this fall, and according to Hope and Tanche, the experience is one that everyone should experience.
“I think it’s important for people to know the history and where you come from,” Hope said.
The Northern university has received many academic nods this past year, including the Ashoka Changemakers Award for Education Innovation from the Royal Bank of Canada.
The award recognizes innovation in leadership and educational programming.
CBC Trailbreaker host, Joslyn Oosenbrug interviewed Elder Francois Paulette and gathered his impressions on the Royal Visit to Dechinta and the relationship between First Nations and the Crown.
by David Malcolm
up here Business
Excerpt from the article:
The Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning piloted its first “bush university” course in June at Blachford Lake Lodge near Yellowknife. The brainchild of the city’s own PhD candidate, Erin Freeland, Dechinta has already developed strong links with the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, and McGill University has expressed interest in the collaboration. Writer David Malcolm and photographer Michael Ericsson attended Dechinta one weekend this summer to discuss the entrepreneurial life with students from around the territory.
When I first heard about the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, I became determined to bring the importance of entrepreneurial small business into the mix of study for the students. I believed that studies in sustainable entrepreneurism would further the Dechinta mission “to support a new generation of leaders and researchers by providing accessible and practical learning and development experiences, respectful of traditional ways, in a taiga bush environment.”