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'A legacy of leadership'
Chiefs cancel Akaitcho assembly after death of ex-chief

Emelie Peacock
Northern News Services
Monday, July 31, 2017

The chiefs of the Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations have cancelled the Akaitcho assembly after the death of elder and former Lutsel K'e Dene First Nation chief Antoine Michel.

The assembly was scheduled to run July 25 through July 28.

The Akaitcho Territory Dene First Nations chiefs of Deninu Ku'e, Lutsel K'e, Dettah and Ndilo made the decision July 24 out of respect for the community of Lutsel K'e.

While the assembly has been cancelled, some pre-planned events including a handgames tournament and the opening of a new building were still schduled to go ahead.

"He was a former chief and well-respected elder, he'd been chief for many years in the past also," said Deninu Ku'e First Nation Chief Louis Balsillie. "Our condolences are with the community and the families that are affected."

In the 10 years he has been chief, Balsillie said this is the first time he has seen an assembly cancelled because of the death of an elder.

The community was still planning go ahead with a community feast and opening of a new building on Mission Island.

Balsillie said the assembly has been postponed until the fall with a tentative date of Sept. 19.

"We send our thoughts, prayers and condolences of comfort to the family of elder Antoine Michel," stated Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus in a news release.

"His was a legacy of purpose and leadership to the community of Lutsel K'e, Denendeh. He was renowned for his skills as an accomplished trapper and very knowledgeable of the land that he loved to be on."

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