Tuesday marks day one of the 16th Tłı̨chǫ Annual Gathering, which will be heading online at 10am for its first-ever virtual adaptation.
The gathering, originally set to take place in-person from July 7-9 in Wekweètì, was canceled due to concerns surrounding Covid-19. It will now run over August 11 and 12.
Henry Zoe, senior director of governance for the Tłįcho Government, is responsible for organizing the event.
He told Cabin Radio that while it was disappointing to have to cancel the in-person gathering, it was the only choice.
“We want to make sure all our people are safe, especially for the small communities,” he said. “We’re quite concerned about this virus that could possibly come into our region.”
In a written message included Tłı̨chǫ Government’s annual report, Grand Chief George Mackenzie echoed Zoe.
“Our goal continues to be to inform everyone about our work while encouraging citizens to safely participate in providing the Chiefs and Assembly members feedback on the reports and activities of the Tłı̨chǫ Government and its institutions,” Chief Mackenzie wrote.
The Tłı̨chǫ government has listed a number of ways for people to tune in:
- Zoom conference
- Facebook livestream
- Phone conference – call (855) 703-8985 (meeting ID 948-1764-2747 for English and 948-1764-2747 for Tłįcho)
- Bell ExpressVu, channel 513
- Shaw Direct, channels 181 and 489
- Live broadcast on CKLB 101.9 FM
“Because of social distancing, we’re not bringing people in, right?” Zoe said. “So, we’ve [got] as many options as we could so they can connect to us. They can watch us at home right from their living room.”
There will be presentations on five different reports, including the previously mentioned Tłı̨chǫ government annual report as well the Tłı̨chǫ Investment Corporation’s annual report.
Outlined in the government’s annual report are seven community projects implemented throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A food hamper program providing food and cleaning supplies to communities served 2,866 houses to date, according to the report. Another nearly 500 pounds of traditional foods such as fish, rabbit, ptarmigan, and muskrat were harvested and shared with Elders free of cost.
In another program, seamstresses within each community were contracted to make free face masks for everyone in the Tłı̨chǫ area. Over 2,500 masks have been made to date.
Other pandemic programming instituted by the Tłı̨chǫ government includes wellness and morale calls to Elders, on-the-land funding, emergency income assistance for families struggling financially, and continued childcare services.
“We already have [gotten] a lot of compliments from our citizens when we developed new programs for Covid-19,” Zoe said.
Chief Mackenzie stated that despite pandemic challenges, the Tłı̨chǫ government “[remains] committed to protecting our land and strengthening the language, culture and way of life of our people.”
The government celebrated its 15th year on August 4, Tłı̨chǫ Day.