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About Stephen Kakfwi – An Introduction

During the past quarter century, Canada’s north, all its residents, especially Aboriginal people, have undergone a remarkable political, democratic, environmental, economic, cultural and geo-political transformation. Stephen Kakfwi, former Northwest Territories (NWT) Premier and Dene Nation President, has been at the forefront of all these developments...

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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...

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The Dene Activist

Stephen Kakfwi responded to the challenge, organizing NWT Dene and Métis and participation of southern support groups in Justice Tom Berger’s landmark inquiry into a Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline. The inquiry recommended a moratorium on development...

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The Rights of Aboriginal People

During his term, he established the NWT Dene Cultural Institute and on the national front, he founded Indigenous Survival International (ISI) with the assistance of the Assembly of First Nations and other Aboriginal organizations...

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The Pontiff Visit

Mr. Kakfwi was also the lead in organizing visits to the NWT by Pope John Paul II in 1984 and 1987. The first visit, which was supported by all national Aboriginal organizations, was cancelled, in part, due to...

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The Politician

In 1987, Mr. Kakfwi made the move to public government, representing the Sahtu constituency, located in the Great Bear Lake region of the NWT. His vision was to create a public system of government which incorporated the best of Aboriginal and public government institutions and practices...

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Awards and Positions

  • 1997 - Aboriginal Achievement Award for Public Service
  • 2003 - Council of Canadians with Disabilities for his contribution to the disabilities rights movement in Canada...
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