Empathetic Witness
Empathetic Witness
Jan 16, 2023
A Dene’s Quest for Transformation in 2023
Play • 55 min

My First guest for 2023 was Norman Yakeleya. Former Indigenous politician. He was the Vice Chief in NWT for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and Grand Chief of 26 Dene Nations. He is a consultant and is semi-retired.

Our conversation is authentic and sprinkled with wise thoughtful words on being Dene. He speaks of his 37 years of sobriety and why it is important to him. As he says, it was simple, but he made it complicated.

Our conversation reminded me of what it is to be Dene. To be Dene, is how we show up in the world, as kind, compassion and empathetic, accept things as they are live in the moment.

Being Dene is more than saying I am Dene, or our DNA it is our action behind the words. It is to keep a safe space for one another.

Treat women in your life your mother, sister, niece, aunt, daughters with respect and honor.  See their beauty and strength.

Most of us no longer live off the land. The skills used on the land can serve you in the cities too. 

Watch what women in your life do for you, your aunt, and your sisters. They are beautiful and strong. When you view them that way you will be less judgmental more caring, and tender towards them. That is being a Dene. Understand our connection to the land, get to know the seasons each season has a lesson, pay attention. 

Being Dene is living with the laws of the Dene on and off the land.

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