AntoineJonathan Antoine

Jonathan Antoine was born in Yellowknife and raised in the town of Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson). In High School he got interested in telling stories with the use of a camera.

In the Spring of 2008, while on a trip with his Dad to Cowichan, BC to pick up his mom, he stopped by Capilano University in North Vancouver to apply to the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking Program (IIDF) and was enrolled by that Fall.

While attending the program Jonathan met some amazing filmmakers and worked with them during the duration of the program. He also wrote & directed 2 documentaries and 2 short films. He graduated with a diploma in 2010. In the Fall of 2010, he applied to the Cinematography Certificate Program at Capilano University.

After all the schooling, Jonathan went back home to tell stories of his own with the techniques he learn at Film School and is still on his Journey to do so.

erasmusPascal Erasmus

Born and raised in Yellowknife all my life.

Graduated from St. Patrick High School in Yellowknife in June 2013.

I am passionate and extremely interested in the societies that inhabit our world. The functions, the interactions, the communications, the how and the why, all of the most wondrous questions the world has to offer is what I am drawn to. I care about the way in which humanity is headed and the way in which our societies function, so I am open to all aspects and avenues of education that can be offered to me that relates to these topics. I would like my profession to be proactive within people’s lives and to have some sort of positive impact on them as well. Sociology seems to be the direction in which I am headed as of right now for a career choice, so I believe this program will surely help benefit me in my journey professionally, spiritually, and personally in more ways than one.

oudziGeorgina Oudzi

Georgina is a CSA (classroom support assistant) at the Colville Lake School for the last eight years, she really enjoys working with kids, does a lot of extra work at the school such as subbing, on Fridays helps cooks hot breakfast for students and teachers and a lot of organizing. Georgina has just recently been hired as a Community Wellness Worker. Lived in Colville Lake a small isolated town, where she was raised. Graduated from Chief T’Selehye School in Fort Good Hope. Has four kids, 3 boys and a girl. Enjoys spending time out on the land, likes to learn and try new experiences, also enjoys reading with her kids, and helping out as much as she can at work.

overvoldCharlotte Overvold

Charlotte Overvold is a K’asho Go’tine Dene born and raised as a Cree Metis in Somba Ke (Yellowknife, NWT). Growing up she spent many summers working at the camp in Old Fort Rae, NWT, through the North Slave Metis Alliance. Here she would work as a camp councillor, taking care of the children, and as the youth camp cook, while attending to various chores. Charlotte attended Thompson Rivers University where she completed a Human Services Certificate and Fine Arts Diploma. She worked at ‘The Gathering Place’ which is the Aboriginal Students Resource Centre for TRU. During this time she created and facilitated ‘The Spirit Finders’ an Aboriginal women’s recreational group that focused on all four aspects of the Medicine Wheel. She was a Student Research Assistant for an Aboriginal Youth Health Project called ‘The Rites of Passage’ which is now implemented into the curriculums of many schools in the Interior of BC. She would often facilitate artistic empowerment workshops for Girls Groups as well. Her summers would be spent volunteering with various community organizations in Yellowknife, such as Folk on the Rocks, Aboriginal Day, and modelling in fashion shows. While pursuing her first passion and completing her Diploma in Fine Arts, she worked as a student assistant in the Fine Arts Department and assisted with various gallery and art shows. She looks forward to returning back to the land and learning new skills and ways to help her community through the Dechinta Program.

smithTrishia Elise Smith

Born in Yellowknife on October 24, 1984 and raised in Dettah by my parents: Fred Tsetta and Susan Smith, sisters Valerie Smith, Aleisha Betsina & brother Tyler Smith-Tsetta.

Growing up in Dettah was a great experience, where I would go swimming, boating, fishing, camping and biking, snowmobiling, sliding and running around the community with friends where we all grew up together.

I spent a lot of my time with my grandparents: Isadore Tsetta and Elise Tsetta (nee Charlo). My grandparents taught me to be a strong dene women, and traditional teachings.

I went to Kaw Tay Whee School up to grade 8, then completed the rest of my high school at St. Patrick high school. I have a 8 year old daughter, Chaylee Rose Elise Smith, my joy.

I am currently working at Department of Education, Culture & Employment as an Access to Information & Protection of Privacy.

I’m excited to be attending Dechinta, and to be sharing this amazing opportunity and experience with my daughter and learn more about our traditional culture.

Mahsi Cho

sterriahKeifer N. Sterriah

Ross River, YT

I am a band member of Ross River Dena Council, which is a group of First Nation communities that make up larger Kaska Nation which stretches from central British Columbia, central to southeast Yukon and eastern portion of Northwest Territory.

I graduated from high school in 2013 in Whitehorse as the school in my home community only goes to Grade 10. I followed up by attending Yukon College in the fall of 2013, and was planning to attend to April, but heard of Dechinta program which I was encouraged to attend by friends and parents.

We do not have a Treaty with Canada. Our people rejected a Final Agreement when Government of Canada and Yukon gave us ultimatum of “take it or leave it” to comprehensive negotiations mandate was hours away.

Our traditional territory is rich in natural resources (minerals, forestry, gas & oil, energy production) which industry and government want to develop. As our First Nation is without a Final Agreement, it create uncertainty to developers which they acquire by negotiating with us as a nation.

My future plans is to learn as much as possible and return to my community. I have not chosen a field I want to specialize in as yet, but I’ve narrowed it down to the land as my people responsibility as land steward were in the past.

I love photography, playing my guitar and making new friends.

Melaw Nakehk’o was born and raised in Denendeh as the daughter of Chief Jim Antoine of Łíídlįį Kų́ę́ (Fort Simpson) and Celine Antoine. She was taught traditional art by her granny, Judith Buggins, at a young age. Melaw attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she acquired an Associates Degree in Two Dimensional Arts, with a focus on painting. She remained in the Southwest for 8 years. Melaw returned to the Deh Cho in 2008, to raise her two boys where they can truly understand the interconnectedness and reciprocal relationship Dene share with the land. Melaw is a two time Dechinta alumni and Board Member and an active member of Łíídlįį Kų́ę́ First Nation, attending annual regional and territorial leadership meetings and treaty conferences. She has been nurturing the arts of sewing, moose hide tanning, and traditional medicine, as well as researching her people’s history to teach the coming generations to maintain the pride and strength found in their indigenous culture.
Moses Hernandez was born and raised in Somba K’e/Yellowknife. Although his father is from Nicaragua (Mayan), and mother is from the Philippines, he has always called Denendeh home. He has a BA Honours in Political Science with a Subsidiary in Aquatic Resources from St. Francis Xavier University, a Certificate in Arctic Studies from the University of Lapland (Finland), and is currently completing an MA in Polar Law from the University of Akureyri (Iceland).

George Bayly is from Behchokǫ̀, part of the Tłįchǫ Nation. George Bayly is a community youth leader, and a member of the community actions research team (CART). With Mason, George is a member of CART, the Community Action Research Team.
Mason Mantla hails from Behchokǫ̀ and is a member of the Tłįchǫ Nation. Mason is a community healthy research leader. After graduating high school, Mason applied for Dechinta. During Dechinta, Mason developed a community based video mentoring program for health promotion across the Tłįchǫ Nation. Hired by the Tłįchǫ government, Mason has spent the year after Dechinta changing the health outcomes for youth in Tłįchǫ through involving them in heath research. Mason participated in Dechinta with his daughter Evie, 2 and his partner Lydia Rabesca. Mason is 19 years old.

Mandee McDonald is a Swampy Cree/Metis woman with Norwegian and Spanish ancestry. She grew up in isolated northern communities. Born in Churchill Manitoba she relocated with her family to Yellowknife, NWT at age 10. She is currently competing her final year of an Honours Undergraduate Degree in Political Science with a minor in Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria where she works as the Outreach Coordinator for the University of Victoria Women’s Centre. Mandee is attending Dechinta University to develop a more holistic understanding of specifically northern issues such as unsustainable resource dependency, Indigenous self-determination, and Indigenous-settler relations, and to discuss these topics in a safe space away from the typical university setting. Her future goals are to do a Masters Degree in Political Science looking at different forms of resistance to corporate and state control in urban Indigenous/Settler communities.
Angela Code was born in Churchill, Manitoba on December 27th, 1987. Her parents are Allan and Mary Code. Angela spent her childhood in her home Sayisi Dene reserve at Tadoule Lake, northern Manitoba. There, she was surrounded by the Chipewyan language, Dene culture, family and community of her people. At the age of ten, Angela and her family moved to Whitehorse, Yukon. Her parents chose Whitehorse as a new home to give their children better western educational and recreational opportunities; to expand their own careers and also to ensure the family maintained their northern identities. Since the move, Angela and her family return to their Sayisi Dene homeland as often as possible. Months following her graduation from high school in 2005, Angela began her post secondary education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Following various family member deaths and sicknesses, Angela took time off school to work, to be with family (in Whitehorse and Tadoule), and also to travel throughout North and South America. Angela returned to UBC in 2010 and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree – Major in First Nations Studies and a Minor in First Nations Languages and Linguistics. Angela’s future career goals include following in her parents footsteps in becoming a filmmaker. She is particularly interested in Indigenous language and cultural revitalization and also in developing programs and general support in building healthier and more sustainable communities.

Matthew Wildcat grew up in Maskwacis (Hobbema, AB) and now lives in Edmonton. For the past three years he has worked in Maskwacis in education and consulting. He will be starting his PhD in Political Science at UBC in the fall. He plans to continue research on Plains Indigenous lifeways, Band Governments and the future of Indigenous political collectivities.
Aaron Spitzer was born and raised in Indiana. For 15 years he’s worked as a journalist, travel-guide writer and cruise-ship guide in Alaska, Antarctica, Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. He’s currently the editor of Up Here, the magazine of Canada’s North and the winner of Canada’s 2010 “magazine of the year” award. He is researching an M.A. thesis about the interrelationship between public government and aboriginal self-government in the Northwest Territories.

Deanna Leonard was born and raised in Hay River, NT. Deanna is a fisheries biologist for the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) based out of Yellowknife, NT. She works extensively with communities in the NWT for the collaborative management of aboriginal fisheries. Deanna is interested in the Dechinta program because it offers an opportunity to learn about northern aboriginal culture in the context of the governance in the North and provides a foundation for respect and understanding.
Kelly Cumming was born and raised in Sǫ̀mba K’è (Yellowknife). Kelly holds an undergraduate degree in Native Studies from Trent University. For the past two and half years, Kelly has worked as the Executive Assistant for Chief Edward Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Kelly is passionate about constitutional development.

Kathleen Graham is from the K’atł’odeeche First Nation (Hay River). Kathleen holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from University of Manitoba. Kathleen is currently a regulatory officer at the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board in Yellowknife. Kathleen was inspired to come to Dechinta because it offers an opportunity to learn ways to incorporate Dene culture into her life.
Siku Allooloo is an Inuk/Haitian woman who was born and raised in Denendeh by her mother, Marie-Helene Laraque, and also by a large extended family including her stepfather, Francois Paulette. She attended Dechinta in 2010 and has a BA degree in Anthropology and Indigenous Studies from the University of Victoria. She dedicated her work primarily to the study of Denendeh’s political history and the colonial reality across the country between Indigenous peoples and the Canadian state. She also focused on the strength, resilience and power of Indigenous women in their perseverance toward the healing and emancipation of their communities. Her life dream is to encourage Indigenous Northerners, and especially our youth, to regain our strength, unity, and brilliant vitality as Indigenous peoples so that we can maintain our homelands, identities and ways of life with dignity and confidence.

Nina Larsson is a member of the Gwich’in Nation and Swedish, born and raised in France. She resides in Yellowknife with her husband and son. Nina is currently the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. She is the founder of Energy North Corporation. As a fellow of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship 2013-2015 cohort, she wrote two policy papers: “Mind the Gender Gap” and together with three fellows “Northern Dene Languages: Use Them or Lose Them – Arctic Athabascan Language Revitilization Plan”. She developed the Indigenous Circumpolar Women’s Gathering while a founding member of Dene Nahjo. She was a Dechinta board member from 2011-2013 and a student during the first pilot semester in 2010.

Nina volunteers her time by creating and leading projects that will benefit Indigenous women. She strongly believes in the importance of an Arctic network to create positive change.