After COVID hiatus, 2022 Dene National Assembly provides attendees a chance to reconnect

The Dene National Assembly held last week brought leaders, delegates and visitors from around the North. Check out the assembly in photos.

The three day event was hosted by Yellowknives Dene First Nation at the Wiliideh Site

The Dene National Assembly wasn't all politics. Attendees stuck around for a raffle of traditional arts with emcee William Greenland making people smile. (Avery Zingel/CBC)

The Dene National Assembly wrapped up on Wednesday, after three days of discussions on issues facing Denendeh and promoting work being done to address them. 

But it was also as a chance for people to gather, share food and enjoy drum dances.

Here are some photos of the 2022 Dene National Assembly: 

Interpreters Joe Tamour, left, and Sarah Gargan hard at work. The Dene National Assembly relies on interpreters so that each delegate can communicate in their own language. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Yellowknives Dene First Nation member Eddie Goulet prepares caribou for delegates at the Dene National Assembly. The First Nation hosted hundreds of people at the Wiilideh Site for three days of talks, gathering and evening activities. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
JC Catholique, Felix Lockhart and Ehxea Nakehk'o warm their drums by the fire. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
The assembly passed a resolution to lobby Indigenous Services Canada to assist West Point First Nation select lands for relocation out of the flood prone area. From left to right: Kátł'odeeche First Nation Councillor Robert Lamalice, Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation Chief Kele Antoine, West Point First Nation Chief Kenneth Cayen, Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Beatrice Antoine, left, Dene National Chief Gerald Antoine, centre, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who sat at the table to listen to leaders speaking about Canada's failure to meet treaty obligations, and to directly fund Indigenous nations. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh signing a different kind of autograph — some 50/50 tickets sold by YKDFN youth Alexis Betsina and Leona Betsina. Singh said if he won (he didn't) he would donate the money back to Dene Nation. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Daniel T'seleie is K'ahsho Got'ine Dene from Fort Good Hope and part of the Keepers of the Water. The Dene National Assembly passed a resolution to oppose the release of treated tailings water from the Alberta oilsands, and say downstream Dene communities must be involved as Canada develops regulations. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
The Dene National Assembly went late into the evening on Wednesday, with leaders passing key resolutions on housing, child welfare and to lobby Canadian governments to directly fund their nations. It was also a time to see people after many years under lockdown. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Emcee William Greenland and Alice Liske making the crowd laugh as they pick the winner of a baby belt during the 50/50 raffle on Wednesday evening. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Cecilia Boyd, left, host of CBC's Tide Gode, William Firth, centre, host of CBC's Nantaii, and CBC'S Legot'sedeh host Mary Anne Williams listen to the assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Young drum dancers enjoying the last day of the Dene National Assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Musician and long-time broadcaster Tony Buggins made an appearance, playing for the crowd on Tuesday evening of the Dene National Assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Alan Cardinal looks on as Dettah Elder Morris Martin sings a song he wrote in Wiilideh Yati. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Lutselk'e Dene First Nations Acting Chief Archie Catholique plays the fiddle. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Terry Simba, left, sits as a delegate for Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation. Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation Chief Kele Antoine sits beside her. Delegates updated each other on programming they are running to benefit youth, like the upcoming water stewardship gathering in late August. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Candice Ferdinand, left, Mandy Bayha, centre, and Shaylynn Mackeinzo are on Deline's youth council. Bayha talked about the importance of working with elders to have a healthy life. She thanked the late-Morris Neyelle and Délı̨nę Ɂek'wahtı̨dǝ́ Leeroy Andre for supporting and believing in the youth in her community. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Archie Beaulieu, centre, says the North urgently needs accessible treatment services when people ask for them, and that RCMP and social services are not adequately responding to drug and alcohol misuse in the community. Dene Nation passed a resolution to push for Nats'ejee K'eh to operate as a treatment centre. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Smiling man in western shirt, ball cap.
Yellowknives Dene First Nation Chief Fred Sangris spoke about outstanding land claims. "Through negotiations or by standing up, we try to make that stand only for one purpose, which is to have a good future without interference. A good future without interference is what we want. And we ask Canada to be our partners, or step aside." (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Artisan Kathy Paul-Drover selling her beadwork at the Dene National Assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
Délı̨nę Got'ı̨nę Government sub chief Leonard Kenny says the youth in his community are very important. The community brought a delegation of youth to speak to the assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
CKLB Radio Gwich'in radio host Evelyne Parry broadcasting from the Dene National Assembly. (Avery Zingel/CBC)



Avery Zingel


Avery Zingel is a reporter with CBC North in Yellowknife. She is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism and Political Science. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @averyzingel.