In the past, the Dehlà Got’įne had to work hard to survive. Life was difficult, but people were happy. Our connection to the land and our traditions made us strong, resilient and independent people. Self-government is about respecting and restoring this knowledge and way of life.
The Dehlà Got’įne traditional model of governance that will be restored through self-government is based on the four got’įnes: distinct traditional family groups that have been associated with specific areas on the land since time immemorial.
Each family carries ancient knowledge and wisdom that has been passed down through generations which we keep orally until we can document and protect for the generations to come.
The Elders of each family have generously shared the wisdom of their got’įne and here is some of what they have said, in the words of Chief Negotiator, Joseph Kochon. These are words that are still used and exercised today.
Duta Got’įne: Take your time and be strong at what you do
“This is advice from my late grandfather from the Duta Got’įne. These words reflect on all aspects of survival in the past, present and into the future. This tells me to ensure you do it right, and do it yourself. It also tells me that one must be strong to face the challenges of independence and leadership. This is why today, we are exercising certain rights before self-government, to ensure we get a taste and have the ability to make changes as we move ahead.”
Tage Got’įne: Be supportive and compassionate
“Be supportive and compassionate. This is what I learned from a late Elder from the Tage Got’įne who spent many years in leadership. Regardless of the many challenges we face we have to be supportive and compassionate of everyone. He said that without these principles what are you doing in leadership?”
Táhshįne Got’įne: Our way of life
“This is what I learned from a late Elder from the Táshįne Got’įne who spent many years in leadership. He would say that our people have a way of life as a Tseduweh (original people, without western influences) and as long as I am on this earth I will hang on to our ways, as our ancestors have taught us. Even if I can no longer walk, I will crawl to the tree and cut it down myself.”
Ts’ogá Got’įne: Don’t talk, just do it
“Don’t talk, just do it comes from a late Elder from the Ts’ogá Got’įne. These words reflect the very essence of one aspect of being Ts’ogá Got’įne: they like to get things done as soon as possible and not waste time. Many Ts’ogá Got’įne that we witnessed started their daily chores as early as 5 or 6 in the morning and were done by 12. These words give us a mandate from our people to just speak once and get it done and move on.”