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Fort Providence prepares to host assembly
Committee formed to plan Dene Nation's annual meeting

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 24, 2011

DEH GAH GOT'IE KOE/FORT PROVIDENCE - The population of Fort Providence could more than double for five days this summer when Dene leaders from around the territory meet there.

NNSL photo/graphic

Fort Providence will see a large influx of visitors in July when the community hosts the Dene Nation's annual assembly. - NNSL file photo

Fort Providence is hosting the Dene Nation's annual assembly from July 11 to 15. The assembly draws in leaders and delegates from the Dene Nation's membership groups across the territory.

Fort Providence was chosen as the host community at last year's assembly in Fort Good Hope.

"It's always an honour especially when people want to come visit you, your people and your community," said Chief Joachim Bonnetrouge of Deh Gah Got'ie First Nation.

Many people like visiting Fort Providence. The community has a reputation for being friendly and the location beside the Mackenzie River is a draw, he said. It has, however, been approximately a decade since the community has hosted a large assembly.

Planning for the assembly began in earnest in mid-January. A seven-member planning committee has been formed, which contains representatives from both the band and the community-at-large, and Greg Nyuli was hired as part-time co-ordinator.

"There's many different items to be looked at and planned," Bonnetrouge said.

The committee, which is meeting on a weekly basis, is currently making a list of all the requirements for the assembly and organizing a budget. The assembly will have a cost associated with it particularly for feeding all of the delegates, Bonnetrouge said.

The territorial government has committed $1,000 to help plan the event and the committee is applying to the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada for funding. The committee will be examining other fundraising and sponsorship options, said Bonnetrouge.

If every eligible community attends there will be 290 voting delegates. The committee is anticipating an additional 200 delegates and visitors with some daily totals reaching 1,000 people, Bonnetrouge said.

The band and the hamlet are working closely on this event. Because Fort Providence doesn't have an arbour, the assembly is anticipated to take place in the community's arena. Other areas are expected to be opened for camping including by the big rock at the snye, he said.

Bonnetrouge wants to involve as many community members as possible in the preparations to welcome the large influx of visitors and in the assembly.

"It takes some doing to be a good host community," he said.

With the assembly still more than four months away, Bonnetrouge said he's confident Fort Providence is up to the challenge and will be prepared come July.

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