James is Métis and hails from Tųlı́t'ą, NWT. He has a vast knowledge of the land that comes only from a lifetime of experience. As a young child, he spent most of his time outside, up and down the Great Bear River and the Keele River every chance he got. Learning from the Elders, he acquired a wealth of knowledge from traditions and culture, carried on from thousands of years.
Gordon Yakeleya was born at K'áalǫ Túé (Willow Lake). The youngest of sixteen children, he was taken to Grollier Hall residential school at the age of fourteen, but only stayed for three months. His father became ill with tuberculosis and was sent away to the hospital, and Gordon had to return home to help his mother. He and his family spent most of their time on the land, hunting and trapping. When he was sixteen years old he started earning an income. His first job was firefighting for $5/day. He did work for various seismic exploration companies for seven winters in the Tulı́t’a, Norman Wells and Colville Lake areas, and as far south as Fort Wrigley. His next career was hauling fuel and water in his home community of Tulı́t’a - he did this for many years. In the late 1980s he started a career in politics, including terms as Chief of the Tulı́t’a Dene Band, President of the Tulı́t’a Land Corporation and Tulı́t’a District Land Corporation, Grand Chief of the Sahtú Dene Council, and Mayor of the Tulı́t’a Hamlet. Throughout all those years, Gordon took every opportunity to continue hunting and trapping in various places, including the K'áalǫ Túé, Dǝocha (Bennett Field) and Blackwater areas. He was elected President of the Tulı́t’a Ɂehdzo Got'ı̨nę in June 2017. His vision is to encourage his community, and especially the youth, to keep the traditional land-based skills alive.
Norman Pierrot was elected President of the Fort Good Hope Ɂehdzo Got'ı̨nę in May 2017. Of Dela Got'ı̨nę and K'áhsho Got'ı̨nę descent, Norman was born in Inuvik. During his first years, he was raised by his grandparents Gabe and Dorothy Cotchilly in Fort Good Hope. He was taken to Grollier Hall residential school in Inuvik at the young age of ten years, and it was two years before he was able to return home for summer vacation. His grandmother sent him to K'ahbamı̨́túé (Colville Lake) to live with his grand-aunt Angela Oudzi so that he could escape being taken back to residential school. After two years he was sent to Fort Good Hope where he began attending Chief T'selehye School. He completed Grade 9 at Grollier Hall. Norman became independent after that, and joined the armed forces for three years. After a series of diverse jobs, vocational training courses and upgrading, he returned to Aurora College and completed his diploma in Natural Resources Technology in 2000. He has since worked as a wildlife officer for NWT Environment and Natural Resources, as an environmental monitor for the Gwich'in Tribal Council, as a consultant for the Fort Good Hope Ɂehdzo Got'ı̨nę, and with contractors doing reclamation and remediation. For several years he worked in various exploration jobs for Discovery Mining Services, traveling throughout Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. For one winter season, he worked on the Snap Lake winter road.
Through his many jobs and travels, Norman has seen the great damage caused by mining operations and has a strong motivation to play a role in conserving the land for future generations. He is dedicated to bringing together old and new ways of working for Dene Ts'ı̨lı̨ and wise stewardship of the land and wildlife.
Fredrick Andrew is Shúhtagot’ı̨nę from Tulı́t’a. From the day he was born, he lived on the land with his family where he travelled by dog team in the winter and by foot in the summer from Tulı́t’a to Drum Lake to the Mackenzie Mountains and back. Raised by his Grandmother, Fredrick was taught to speak his language, and live off the land from a young age. Fredrick has served as a board member on the Nááts’ı̨hch’oh National Park Reserve Management Board, the Tulit’a Land Corporation, the Tulit’a Dene Band and the Tulit’a Renewable Resources Council, where he also served as President and Vice President. Recently, Fredrick partnered with Dr. Jean Polfus on community-based genetic caribou research. Together, they have spoken to many different community and university audiences about the importance of ɂelexé ɂeghálats’eda (working together.)
Fredrick is also a father and a grandfather. Fredrick has taught his granddaughter, Maylene, Dene language and on the land skills. Maylene has been going into the Mackenzie Mountains with Fredrick for the summer months since she was 15 years old. Fredrick also taught his son, Blake, trapping, hunting and traditional knowledge skills. Fredrick is proud of his traditional territory and believes it is important to protect Sahtú wildlife and environment and share his traditional knowledge.