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Embassy News Release
December 14, 2005
Steve Kakfwi has been a busy man in the two years since he left politics following a prominent career as an MLA, minister and finally premier in the Northwest Territories. Among other things, he has worked as a negotiator for his own Sahtu people on land access benefits for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, and is a member of the national roundtable on the environment.

But above all, his retirement from politics has allowed Mr. Kakfwi to follow a decades-old dream of becoming a folk singer. A devoted fan of Bob Dylan (he once met Dylan backstage at a concert in Calgary and literally gave him the traditional native jacket off his own back) Mr. Kakfwi has just released a CD of his own work, under the collected title of In The Walls of His Mind.

The opening song brings to mind Natalie Cole and Hank Williams Jr. in that through the magic of mixing he was able to "record" with his late father. By a stroke of luck, CBC radio was at an event in the NWT in the 1970s and its recording caught Mr. Kakfwi's later father, Noel, singing a traditional native song. The CD begins with that scratchy recording, and Mr. Kakfwi's voice is then mixed in to create a posthumous duet.

The remaining nine songs were all written by Mr. Kakfwi and reflect his own personal experiences as a Dene, are based on favourite stories or are tributes to some of his aboriginal heroes. They range from the title song of the CD -- a haunting ballad based on Mr. Kakfwi's own harrowing experiences in the residential school system -- to a rousing song based on the legendary NWT story of Gw'itchin Mountie Lazarus Sittichinli and the lost patrol. Perhaps he might even go on to full fill another dream one and perform one of his songs with Dylan himself.

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