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The Beginning

Born at a traditional Dene bush camp on Yelta Lake near Fort Good Hope, NWT in 1950, Mr. Kakfwi spent his early years on the land, learning the customs of his people and developing a life-long respect for the wilderness and its resources.

Like many young Dene he was later sent to residential schools for seven years in Inuvik and Fort Smith, both 500 miles from his family home.

In the early 1970’s, part way through completing a teacher’s degree at the University of Alberta, Mr. Kakfwi returned to his home community of Fort Good Hope on the Arctic Circle. At the time, the NWT Dene, Métis, Inuit and Inuvialuit were beginning to organize politically in the north and across Canada, demanding recognition of their Aboriginal land and self government rights.

These formative experiences, involving a traditional life on the land and assimilation into a foreign language and culture, helped prepare Mr. Kakfwi for an extraordinary career serving his people, the NWT and Canada.

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