For Daniel, Dene Nahjo represents basing our lives on the Dene way of life and the teachings that come from his ancestors and the land. Emerging from his Dene identity comes his history of being active on environmental and climate justice issues.
“The way of life, the language, the spirituality, the entire aspect of what it means to be Dene is connected to the land”
Daniel is motivated by the imperative need for social action and the Dene responsibility to continue a way of life; as a Dene, he believes it is his job to prioritize the languages, cultures, spiritualities and systems of governance that come from Dene ancestors, the land, the animals and other aspects of creation. He is passionate about passing on a well-cared for land to future generations.
An all encompassing project that Daniel outlines is the hide tanning. It touches on many facets of a person’s life and requires them to maintain a relationship with the land. From the relationship with the moose, to the relationship with the bush, to the relationship with community, for Daniel, hide tanning really brings everything together and promotes the Dene way of living. Daniel also highlights that hide tanning promotes learning Dene languages within a Dene context. Through his involvement with Dene Nahjo, he wants to instill the fact that Dene people and Dene cultures are as relevant as ever.
Check out Daniel below:
“So something as seemingly simple as hide tanning brings together a lot of different aspects of the Dene way of life, and forces people not just to think about it or write about it, but to act as that and live that” -Daniel T'seleie