Media reduced traditional Dene practices, and important activities in learning about, and engaging in, decolonization, to simple "arts and crafts", say a group of Dechinta Bush University Centre for Research and Learning students and faculty in an open letter posted on Rabble.

Media reduced traditional Dene practices, and important activities in learning about, and engaging in, decolonization, to simple "arts and crafts", say a group of Dechinta Bush University Centre for Research and Learning students and faculty in an open letter posted on Rabble.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Dechinta on their recent tour of Canada. While there, they learned about (and participated in) the preparation of caribou meat, smoking fish, the use of medicinal plants, moosehide tanning, and beading.

"These practices were portrayed by the media as arts and crafts," write faculty and students, "What the coverage didn't communicate is that Dechinta participants explained to the royal couple how these activities play a key role in learning about, and engaging in, decolonization. As colonialism has displaced Indigenous peoples from their land, these activities help reconstitute students political, social and economic relations to that land."

More than that, many media reports dubbed the well-known local Dene leader and activist Francois Paulette as simply a "guide" or "village leader", say Dechinta members.

"Considering Paulette's political significance in the North, this characterization was seen by students as a racist affront," adds the letter. While their letter may not entirely erase the media's misrepresentation, they acknowledge, "at least some record will exist of its [the Royal Visit to Dechinta] true intent."

Check out Rabble for the full letter.

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