In Community, On the Land, For the Future
Dechinta: Bush University Centre for Research and Learning is a northern-led initiative delivering land-based, University of Alberta-credited educational experiences led by northern leaders, experts, elders and professors to engage northern and southern youth in a transformative curricula based on the cutting-edge needs of Canada’s North.
The Dechinta experience is an educational experience like no other. Located off the grid in a remote eco-lodge accessible only by bush plane, snowmobile or dog team, learning from the land while living in community is central to the Dechinta experience. Gather under the northern lights to discuss Dene Political Theory around a fire. Ski or canoe to check fish nets, and gain hands on experience about ecosystems management. Collect medicines and learn regional history from expert elders. Contemplate the importance of land to community and life with a diverse group of students, volunteers and elders. Live in log cabins heated by woodstove, and enjoy amenities such as a sauna, hot tub, and organic gardens. Hunting, fishing and wild harvesting are integrated into the curriculum, led by dynamic and diverse faculty with direct experience in research and leadership in the subject areas.
Dechinta offers the opportunity to:
- Learn about the environment, politics and history of Denendeh / Northwest Territories from indigenous experts, leading professors, local leaders and elders in a co-teaching environment
- Conduct your own research both at Dechinta and in wider geographies
- Become part of a self-governing, sustainable community
- Engage in hands on aspects of community sustainability such as harvest and energy production
- Travel seasonally by ski, canoe, snowmobile and dog team through the boreal forest
- Enjoy abundant wildlife such as moose, caribou, waterfowl, lynx, loons, ducks, hares and live under the aurora borealis or midnight sun
- Visit self-governing communities and learn from First Nations in the process of negotiating self-government and land claims.
- Participate in the Dechinta mentorship program, networking community and internship program
What does Dechinta offer that is not met by current educational institutions?
- Above all, Dechinta offers uniquely Northern and Indigenous course offerings – courses taught by Northern leaders, about the Northern context, with an agenda set by Northerners, supported by leading professors with relevant experience.
- Dechinta courses are delivered in a land-based environment. Field Schools boast higher student success rates, provide integrated community and educational experience away from town and are noted amongst students and teachers to offer life changing educational experiences.
- The Dechinta curriculum is housed in a sustainable-off grid centre where self-governance by the students, labour, hunting and gathering and Indigenous Elder teachings support a whole-person, healthy educational experience. Child-care and family-living are an integral aspect of Dechinta.
- Dechinta offers university-accredited courses and land-based educational learning opportunities that are not currently accessible in the north.
- Creating 10 part-time and 3 full-time local jobs in Education, Culture, and a Sustainable future.
- Supporting Northern students to lead and achieve through a bush-based education experience.
Formerly the Northern University Field School and Blachford Trust Initiative, Dechinta is a legacy project that demonstrates Canada’s commitment to the enhanced capacity and ability of Northern Peoples to fully participate in protecting arctic sovereignty through enhanced human capacity and northern involvement in international circumpolar leadership.