Friends, it’s hard to tell exactly what awaits you upon returning home.

This time around, all I knew for sure was to continue with my Indigenous PhD studies, now several years in.

I had already got done with two large murals last time around, a total area of almost two hundred square feet. Now it’s simply a matter of painting, varnishing the red trim borders and put it all together.

Even that got delayed by the deluge of requests for more of my kind of artworks.

Word gets around in a small town, especially here in Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, which is known for the great variety of things that people do.

Right away one of the members of the Elders Council wanted to meet and talk about the traditional trail from our neighboring Ikabami Tue, Colville Lake.

Our hunting grounds extend all the way to the Arctic Coast, to the delta of the Coppermine River, hundreds of miles away.

People would pack and take everything they needed, even tents and canoes, back to the big Duhogah, Mackenzie River, for the summer’s fishing.

The Sahtu Land and Water Board has been after me to do a mural for them, if now approved to be installed beside the Yamoga building.

The newly formed self-government office wants to set up for a week-long Youth Arts Workshop, hopefully to happen after this year’s Great Northern Arts Festival, in July.

Add to all of this a photo-shoot featuring two local leaders and something for the RCMP’s front entrance and you get the Idea of just how hectic things can get.

All of this in the very first week of my return home for the summer!

Out of all of these, the Et’sehchi’i; Traditional Dene Burial Practices Mural is about the only one which directly relates to my research for a PhD.

The idea is to bring past times back to life, this particular one to do with how our Dene Peoples here treated the farewell of their departed. Before modern times there was so much respect for those who died that the ones involved in the actual burial went and spent an entire year out on the land, concentrating on their dreams.

As it also turns out I was told that all of this is part of the prophesies of Etseo Ayha, who foretold how our old ways would eventually find their way into our schools.

A good part of me is not at all surprised that all of sudden various groups just want something of the mountain for themselves, no molehills, thank you very much!

With the latest changes, all of these add-ons point to exactly what we need in terms of Community, the Arts and Indigenous Knowledge.

What with everything else going on here I’ve been made to feel as welcome as any of those returning.

Mahsi, thank you.

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