A Glimpse of Peace

I have found some much-needed renewal.

A Glimpse of Peace
(Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Greetings friends,

As some of you know, I have been struggling with pain and depression this year. However, today, I am in good spirits. That may sound strange, given the state of the world and US politics, but I can explain. I have spent the past week at a land-based solidarity gathering in Chief Drygeese Territory, just outside Yellowknife, in so-called Canada. I have found some much-needed renewal here on Dene land, learning from elders and connecting with organizers and thinkers from across North America and beyond. Dechinta, an organization that creates opportunities for young Dene people to engage with the land and learn from their elders (and often earn college credit in the process), invited me to this convening, and being here has meant the world to me. If you would like to hear more about this place and the conversations I’ve had here with people like Mahdi Sabbagh, William C. Anderson, Harsha Walia, Robyn Maynard, Leanne Simpson, and Dene elders and youth, please check out next week’s episode of Movement Memos. Given that we are developing an arc of episodes about mental health and healing, I have decided to begin that arc with some of the conversations happening here at Dechinta camp, where I have found some much-needed healing myself.

For now, I want to share some photos with you all to give you a glimpse of this beautiful place. Through the episode, I hope to share some of the peace and reflection I have found here with you all. Based on what I am seeing on social media, I am guessing many of you could use some of the energy I’ve found out here.

Large scattered rocks along a shoreline.
The shore of Great Slave Lake. The lake's name stems from a European misunderstanding of Indigenous post-war adoption customs. After a conflict, it was common for the Dene to adopt orphans and widows from communities ravaged by loss. These people were not slaves, but new family members. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A wild rose growing in the woods.
A wild rose growing in the woods. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Kyla, a young Dechinta staff member, scrapes a hide. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Three Indigenous people hold a tanned hyde in front of a lake.
Dechinta staff members Paul, Thumlee, and Paul celebrate the completion of a tanned hide. It is the first hide tanning effort that Thumlee has led others to complete. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson hangs fish that have been collected from traps. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
William C. Anderson, Robyn Maynard and Harsha Walia explore the lake in a canoe. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
Dene singer/songwriter Leela Gilday serenades the camp. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
A dock extends into the lake. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Sending you all so much love. I will have more to say next week. For now, I am going to enjoy my last day at camp.

In solidarity,