Community Leaders Retreat

The NWTRPA Community Leaders Retreat is a highly interactive, informative, and idea provoking educational event. Both experienced and new community leaders will benefit from learning more about decolonization in the NWT.

The goal of the Community Leaders Retreat is to provide increased awareness and knowledge of decolonization, offer events that are fun and allow for interaction, and focus attention on the benefits of recreation among participants.

2019 Community Leaders Retreat

The 2019 Community Leaders Retreat is offered by NWT Recreation and Parks Association in collaboration with Dechinta.

WHEN: February 27 – March 1, 2019

WHERE: Blachford Lake Lodge

WHO: Staff and volunteers, with or without a formal title, who are currently or want to play a stronger role as a community leader. It is geared to those from a variety of sectors e.g. health, social services, recreation, economic development, education, justice, libraries, elected officials, tourism, arts, environment etc. who are committed to working with others to strengthen leadership and innovation, and ultimately, the capacity and resiliency in their communities.

REGISTRATION: This retreat is valued at $1,600 per person.  A special rate of $750 + GST has been made. (You must be an NWTRPA member to register. If you are not currently a member you will be charged an additional $25 + GST for your annual membership.) Retreat reservations will not be held until payment is received.


  • Return flights to Blachford Lake Lodge from Somba K’e (Yellowknife);
  • Shared accommodations in cabins;
  • All meals, snacks, and refreshments (including juice, coffee, tea, home-baked goods, and fruits);
  • Access to facilities including outdoor hot-tub, sauna, trails, and tipi; and
  • Access to outdoor recreation equipment including skis and boots, snowshoes, skates, and fishing equipment.

Contact the NWTRPA at [email protected], (867) 669-8377 for more information.


Day 1

  • Travel from Somba K’e to Blachford Lake Lodge
  • 11:00 am: Feed the Fire Ceremony & Introductions
  • 12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch
  • 1:30 – 330 pm: Set Nets on Ice
  • 3:30 – 4:30 pm: “What is Decolonization?” with Dr. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
  • 4:30-6:30 pm: Lecture & Group Discussion: “Economic & Political Development in the NWT: A Colonial History” with Dr. Glen Coulthard
    • This lecture will discuss the history of non-Indigenous economic and political development in the NWT from WW2 to the present day highlighting the decline of the fur trade economy and the imposition of the extractivist non-renewable resource economy, the removal of Indigenous peoples off the land and into colonial settlements, violation of historic treaties, and the politics of the McKenzie Valley pipeline inquiry.
  • 6:30-7:30 pm: Dinner
  • 7:30 – 9:00 pm: Film Screening & Group Discussion: “Angry Inuk” with Drs. Glen Coulthard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
    • In her award-winning documentary, Inuk director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins a new tech- savvy generation of Inuit as they campaign to challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting. Armed with social media and their own sense of humour and justice, this group is bringing its own voice into the conversation and presenting themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy.

Day 2

  • 8:30 – 9:30 am: Breakfast
  • 9:30 -10:30 am: Check Nets
  • 10:30 – 12 noon: Lecture & Discussion “Land Claims and Dene Resurgence” Dr. Glen Coulthard
    • This lecture will detail the Dene response to colonial political and economic development in the north. It will highlight the role that land plays as a framework to critique capitalism and settler colonization and Dene resurgence post settlement.
  • 12:30-1:30 pm: Lunch
  • 2:00 – 5:00 pm: Lecture & Discussion: “Freedom Sings: Decolonization, Resistance & Resurgence”, Dr. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
  • This lecture discussion the concepts of freedom, resistance, and resurgence within the context of decolonization and using Indigenous storytelling. It will include a gendered analysis of colonialism and decolonial movements, and highlight the contributions of Indigenous women and Two-Spirit/queer people.
  • 5:00-630 pm: Optional 2km or 4 km walk
  • 6:30-7:30 pm: Dinner/Fish Fry
  • 7:30-9:30 pm: Closing Circle


Dr. Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an associate professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program and the Departments of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Caribbean Philosophical Association’s Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Book, the Canadian Political Science Association’s CB Macpherson Award for Best Book in Political Theory, published in English or French, in 2014/2015, and the Rik Davidson Studies in Political Economy Award for Best Book in 2016. He is also a co-founder of the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning, a decolonial, Indigenous land-based post-secondary program operating on his traditional territories in Denendeh (Northwest Territories).

Dr. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story, and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity. Working for over a decade as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and has twenty years experience with Indigenous land based education. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, is currently faculty at the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning in Denendeh (NWT), and a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. Leanne’s books are regularly used in courses across Canada and the United States including Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Lighting the Eighth Fire, This Is An Honour Song, and The Winter We Danced: Voice from the Past. Her latest book, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance was published by the University of Minnesota Press in the fall of 2017 and won the NAISA best subsequent book prize. As a writer, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King in 2014. Her second book of short stories and poetry, This Accident of Being Lost, is a follow up to the acclaimed Islands of Decolonial Love published by the House of Anansi Press in Spring 2017 and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium prize for fiction. Leanne is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of Alderville First Nation.