It is an exciting time at Dechinta as we expand to meet the growing needs of Indigenous communities and students in the north.

 We are now located at the old Dene nation office at 5125 50th Street in Yellowknife. We had a wonderful open house on March 1 with many alumni and families attending. Please stop by for a visit to hear about our new programming!

We have several new staff members in our Yellowknife office.

Catherine Lafferty (YKDFN), joined our team as Director of Community and Indigenous Education in January 2018.  Catherine is a Dene woman from the Northwest Territories, her First Nation affiliation is with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation for which she sits on the Chief and Council as a council member. Catherine is a strong advocate for Indigenous empowerment in and around the North.

Catherine’s post-secondary educational background started when she received a certificate in Aboriginal Child and Family Services in 2006. In 2013 she received a Bachelor of Arts in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University. Catherine considers herself a lifelong learning and is a strong advocate for tackling Indigenous issues, particularly in the north and she is a visionary, motivated to create positive changes in her community and inspire others to follow their dreams. She is a mother of two children who are first and foremost in her life. In her spare time, Catherine devotes her energy into her love of writing.

We are also excited to welcome Dr. Kelsey Wrightson, as our Transitional Director of Policy and Programming. Kelsey grew up in Edmonton Alberta, and completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia in 2015. After finishing school, she worked for a year with Dylan Robinson at Queen’s University in the Centre for Indigenous Arts, and then returned to UBC and worked for 2 years in research grant administration. She is very excited to move to Somba’ke and work with the impressive team at Dechinta, and is especially looking forward to working on language and arts programming.

Kelsey and Catherine are highly organized and present in our Yellowknife office managing the logistics of all of our programming, often assisted by Justina Black (YKDFN) and Jiah Dezentu (Denesuline-Deh Cho Dene) and more of our brilliant alumni as needed.

Gordie Liske (YKDFN) remains active as our Dene land based professor and coordinator of land based activities.

We are also happy to welcome Madeline Whetung to the Spring 2018 semester as our Land-Based Coordinator.  She is currently completing a PhD in Geography through UBC in the Coastal territory of the Skwxwu7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm. She is a citizen of the Nishnaabeg nation and a member of Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario. She has extensive land-based education experience and we are honoured she’ll be supporting and mentoring our students on site this spring.

Erin Freeland Ballantyne

Erin was born and raised in Sǫ̀mba K’è / Yellowknife on Akaitcho territory and was the first Rhodes Scholar from the Canadian North. A political ecologist and proud mom of 3, Erin holds a PhD from Oxford University. Her research, Sustainability’s Paradox: Community Health, Climate Change and Petrocapitalism develops an understanding of climate change as a force of violence directly linked to petrocapitalism and colonization, and details the importance of Indigenous laws and governance steering us towards a sustainable future. Erin is a hunter, berry picker and participatory video researcher. Committed to land-based education as a space for creating and imaging healthy futures that are intergenerational and accessible to all, Erin is proud to work with incredible faculty, students and elders at Dechinta.