NWT Sahtu youth help write book celebrating Dene heroes
The collection of stories and images recording Sahtu history will be released next month
A book celebrating Dene heroes and written by Sahtu youth is slated to be released next month.
David Codzi, president of the Ayoni Keh Land Corporation, says the book was a chance to record and write down Sahtu history — something lacking in current school curriculum.
"We've all gone to school and we've learned about other people's history not our own. So the idea came that we needed to have something creative in place," he says.
Codzi says youth from Fort Good Hope, Tulita, Colville Lake, Norman Wells and Deline had to reflect on who they thought of as heroes.
"School aged children [were] looking at their families; looking at the people that they sometimes go out with, like going hunting, or who they think is a good hunter; who they think that works hard, a parent or a family member; some have chosen legends and stories," says Codzi.
The youth conducted their own research and shared their stories, drawings and photographs in the 118-page book.
Codzi says it was a big success. He says the exercise was also used to motivate students to want to go to school, to want to learn and to research their own history.
"Dene Heroes of The Sahtu" was edited by Mary-Anne Neal of Royal Roads University, who also directed the project. She says 40 people contributed to the book's publication. Contributors ranged from 12 years to 35 years of age.
Neal says that "Dene Heroes of The Sahtu" is the first book in a series that will release a new volume of stories every year.
The book's launch will kick off with drumming, prayers and dance performances at the Chief T'Selehye School in Fort Good Hope on Jan. 13.