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Honourary citizens

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Kakisa (July 08/05) - Thomas Berger, who oversaw a landmark inquiry on a proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline 30 years ago, and environmentalist David Suzuki, were guest speakers at this year's Dehcho Assembly.

A resolution was passed naming them honourary Dehcho citizens.

They will be granted no voting rights or privileges, but Fort Providence delegate Richard Lafferty suggested that they could be taken fishing or hunting, or asked to raise Dehcho issues on the world stage.

Back on track?

Self-government negotiations with Ottawa appear to be resuming now that DFN has accepted a settlement agreement from the federal government on its Mackenzie Valley pipeline litigation.

Georges Erasmus, the Dehcho's chief negotiator, informed delegates that a series of meetings with federal officials have been scheduled up until Christmas.

"We haven't announced it to the world, but we know and Canada knows," said Erasmus.

Still sitting out

Dehcho delegates reaffirmed their opposition to participating in the Aboriginal Summit, which represents NWT First Nations and Metis in devolution negotiations with the federal and territorial governments. Ottawa signed a framework agreement with DFN in 2001.

That document specifies that the federal government will clarify the treaties and recognize the powers of a Dehcho public government, according to a resolution endorsed at last week's assembly.

Off to school

Two $1,000 DFN scholarships were awarded to Jeremy Antoine, Cheryl Cli, Tina Fabian, Kathleen Graham, Mary Grossetete, Jacqueline Hope, Marcie Lafferty, Bertha Landry, Josanne Tanche, Tamara Thom, Hilda Tsetso and James Tsetso.

Makletzoff wins

Tonya Makletzoff's entry was selected as the Dehcho First Nations' new logo. She will collect a $2,000 prize for her winning submission.

Setting an example

Cathy Wilkinson, director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, praised Dehcho First Nations for its land-use planning process and conservation initiatives. More than half of the Dehcho region - areas with considerable ecological and cultural values - has been earmarked for some level of protection from development.

"It shows how powerful land-use planning can be," said Wilkinson, who is based in Ottawa.

"It's a model other communities could use."

Across Canada, only about nine per cent of the boreal forest is protected, she noted.