Canada supports the nation rebuilding efforts of Indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories to advance self-determination and reconciliation 

News release

December 17, 2021, 2020 —Yellowknife, NWT — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is rebuilding the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with Indigenous peoples through supporting the realization of their visions of self-determination. A key part of this work is through the Nation Rebuilding Program.

Today, Gary Anandasangaree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, announced a total of $848,597 in Nation Rebuilding funding for both the Dene Nation and the Gwich'in Tribal Council in support of their respective efforts towards self-determination. Parliamentary Secretary Anandasangaree and MP McLeod met virtually with the Dene Nation and the Gwich'in Tribal Council, to learn more about the work being undertaken in their nations and their unique priorities and needs.

In Budget 2018, the Government invested $100 million over five years to support Indigenous groups efforts towards developing their own path to reconstituting their nations. The program is an important step forward in supporting Indigenous groups in rebuilding their governance structures on the path towards self-determination.

Since Budget 2018, Indigenous communities and groups in the Northwest Territories have received over $2 million in funding through the Nation Rebuilding Program.

The Government of Canada will continue to work with Indigenous peoples in the Northwest Territories on advancing reconciliation and working in partnership with communities on their visions of self-determination. 


"The first step on the path to true reconciliation begins with Canada respecting the nation-to-nation relationship. It is in this regard that the Dene Nation is pleased with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations for supporting our vision of self-determination. The Dene are at the helm of a new era, where we serve our local and regional governments, respect their jurisdictions, yet unite nationally to protect our people, ancestral lands, and inherent and Treaty rights. We look forward to working with the Sahtu, Gwich'in Akaitcho, Dehcho and Tlicho regions shoulder-to-shoulder with their local leadership to see our vision come to fruition – Many Heartbeats – One Dene Drum."

Norman Yakeleya
National Chief, Dene Nation 

"The Gwich'in Tribal Council is pleased with the efforts made by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations in supporting our right to self-determination. The Gwich'in Government negotiations and Nation Rebuilding efforts are ongoing as we work towards reconciliation. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal and territorial governments on these important matters for the betterment of our people and a stronger future for our Nation."

Ken Smith
Grand Chief, Gwich'in Tribal Council 

"The work the Dene Nation is doing to develop their own path to rebuilding their nation is inspiring. Supporting Indigenous-led visions of self-determination in a manner that responds to their priorities and unique needs is essential to advancing reconciliation."

Gary Anandasangaree
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations 

"Through supporting the Dene Nation and the Gwich'in Tribal Council with their institutional development, the Government of Canada is making the investments needed to help establish a stronger future for Indigenous governments in the Northwest Territories."

Michael McLeod
Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories 

Quick facts

  • The two Indigenous groups in the Northwest Territories who will receive Nation Rebuilding funding for 2020-21 are: the Dene Nation and Gwich'in Tribal Council. 

  • Funding to the Dene Nation will support their work towards establishing a Dene national voice, revising and finalizing their Constitution and developing a Unity agreement for Dene governments. The Dene vision is to rebuild their nation at the local, regional and national level through the "Many Heartbeats, one Dene Drum" approach. 

  • Gwich'in Tribal Council's activities are focused on a foundation for governance and the development of community capacity in preparation for self-government. 

  • The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) recommended that Indigenous groups should begin to reconstitute themselves as nation. 

  • Supporting Indigenous groups rebuilding their nations is also an objective outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

  • Under the Nation Rebuilding Program, $100 million in funding has been made available for five years, starting in 2018-19, to support Indigenous groups of the same nation in coming together to build capacity at the nation level. 

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Ani Dergalstanian
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Laila Adam
Director of Policy & Communications
Dene Nation

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