The Government of Canada is giving the Dene Nation $25,000 to begin its project to uncover stories behind the Canol pipeline from the Second World War.

The Dene Nation’s history project aims to uncover the role of the Sahtu Dene in building the pipeline.

In the original history of the Canol pipeline, the participation of the Indigenous peoples was not accurately documented, according to the Dene Nation.

The money from the federal government will help cover costs to gather the stories and document history in the Dene Nation’s own words.

“We are honoured to correct the history books and elevate our Canol Elders living and in memorial. Our Dene Elders stand ready to provide the important, untold stories on the Dene participation in the construction of the Canol pipeline and the $25,000 fund is an important first step,” said Norman Yakeleya, Dene national chief and NWT regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations. “The Canol Trail multi-media project will reflect the important role of the Dene in the Canol project. I envision an important role for our youth in the project.”

The Dene Nation also has plans for commemorative monuments on the Canol Trail, located along the Mackenzie River.

Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, stated that the effort to document and share the history of the Canol Pipeline Project from an Indigenous perspective “is a key part in reconciliation with Dene people. This community-driven project will create further economic development opportunities, enhance tourism and ensure that future generations of Canadians, and all those that visit the region, can learn about the important role the Dene played in the construction of the Canol Pipeline Project and the history of the Canol Trail.”

The Canol pipeline starts at Normal Wells and extends to Whitehorse.

During the Second World War, the pipeline was a massive engineering project involving Canada and the United States.

Thousands of workers, including many Indigenous workers and American military soldiers, laboured over the pipeline project, which took 22 months to complete.

Eleven months after the pipeline and an accompanying road were completed in 1944, the project was abandoned as it was no longer needed since the war ended.

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