Hotıì ts’eeda annual gathering brings together NWT-based researchers and knowledge holders to discuss health, climate change and youth

Hotıì ts’eeda’s annual Ełèts’ehdèe (Tłı̨chǫ), also referred to as the Katimaqatigiit (Inuvialuit) and Nihkhah Łatr’iljil (Gwich’in), will bring together approximately 150 people between September 29 and October 02, 2020 in an online gathering format.

The Ełèts’ehdèe is an annual gathering of partners, community members and researchers to meet and connect, learn about Hotıì ts'eeda, and share information about Indigenous cultural knowledge and health research in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The 2020 theme is health, climate change and youth.

Planning was underway for the 2020 Ełèts’ehdèe-Katimaqatigiit-Nihkhah Łatr’iljil in Inuvik, NWT last spring when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in the NWT. Hotıì ts'eeda has adjusted and is now moving to the online format that will be hosted by Dëneze Nakehk'o, an NWT-based facilitator, communicator and educator. Speakers and panelists will address participants from various locations. Speakers include NWT youth working on climate change, mental health advocacy, and health research. 

The gathering’s keynote speaker is Sheila Watt-Cloutier. Watt-Cloutier is a well-known Northern Nobel Peace Prize nominee for her advocacy work on climate change and human rights. 

“Humanizing the issue of climate change in all research is key to teaching the world about the power of Indigenous culture,” Watt-Cloutier said. “That, too, is the medicine the world seeks to better understand what sustainability means.”

Watt-Cloutier will be joined by many presenters, including Cultural Knowledge Holders (CKH) from the North who will join academic research presenters in “virtual tipis” or breakout rooms. The conference will also include panels and youth speakers such as NWT-based speaker Shania Young.

"As a youth mental health advocate, we are constantly working to promote change and educate our adult allies on why mental health should be a priority in all agendas so this opportunity to speak to our allies on what youth mental health advocacy looks like in the north is an amazing chance to collaborate and create a continuing conversation,” said Young.

While the gathering will encourage collaboration and discussion among those involved in health research in the NWT, it is also a vehicle for Hotıì ts’eeda to hear from its partners to determine its organizational priorities for the future.

“Hotıì ts’eeda’s focus is on ensuring health research in the NWT is done in the right way,” explains Hotıì ts’eeda Governing Council Chair John. B. Zoe. “That means people who live here are the decision-makers for themselves and their communities about what needs to be addressed and prioritized.”

The 2020 Ełèts’ehdèe-Katimaqatigiit-Nihkhah Łatr’iljil is limited to 150 people in order to encourage networking and discussion. However, a special screening of the climate-change focused film created by Inuvialuit youth, Happening to Us, is open to the public. The screening will be followed by a live question and answer session. For more information and to sign up for the screening please go to 2020 FILM SCREENING WITH Q&A.

Hotıì ts'eeda is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) as a SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) Support Unit. It is hosted by the Tłı̨chǫ Government. As an organization it is guided by an independent governing council with a majority of its members being NWT Indigenous governments. Hotıì ts'eeda staff are embedded within four NWT Indigenous governments: Tłı̨chǫ Government; Inuvialuit Regional Corporation; Délı̨nę Got'ı̨nę Government; and, Gwich’in Tribal Council.