Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning Camp a go for September

NNSL file photo
Hides dry inside the tipi set up as part of last summer’s Hide Tanning Revitalization Project. The camp returns again in September.

Council unanimously approved $5,000 to fund this year’s Dene Nahjo Urban Hide Tanning Camp at a Wednesday special council meeting.  

The money comes from the Heritage Committee Project Funding budget.

Heather Nakehk’o, senior project administrator with Dene Nahjo, told the municipal services committee on Monday that last year’s camp was a success due to funding from the city and GNWT. “We’re looking to do the same again this year, at a little bit higher caliber than what we did last year,” she said.

The camp is scheduled to run from Sept. 5 to Sept. 15, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dene Nahjo previously ran a hide tanning camp in Fort McPherson in 2015, and the Hide Tanning Revitalization Project in Yellowknife last summer.  


NNSL file photo
Melaw Nakehk’o trims a caribou hide with a knife during last summer’s Hide Tanning Revitalization Project. The hide tanning camp returns to Somba K’e Civic Plaza again next month.

In 2016, the city funded the project to the tune of $3,000. With the $2,000 increase, the it will be able to expand. Nakehk’o said last year, she saw more than 200 visitors a day, and organizers have incorporated feedback to make this year even more successful.

The camp will again feature hide tanning demonstrations from various regions across the North, led by elders and hide tanning instructors, as well as guest speakers on a range of topics from local history and language to reconciliation and decolonization.

It’s open to participants who want to learn how to hide tan themselves, open to the public who are interested in just coming to learn about hide tanning, maybe try it out for themselves,” said Nakehk’o. There will also be people on site to answer questions.

She added because the dates will coincide with the school year, Dene Nahjo is partnering with the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre to offer guided tours of both the museum and the camp with students.

This year will also feature a movie night hosted by filmmaker Amos Scott featuring Indigenous filmmakers, and an artist market coinciding with the Farmers Market on Sept. 5 and Sept. 12.

This recommendation was wholeheartedly endorsed by the committee,” said Coun. Julian Morse, who chairs the Heritage Committee. “I think this is a really great opportunity for the city to partner with this great organization that’s doing this work that is kind of preserving what I would call living here. It’s a great project.”

The camp will also be one of the YK 50 anniversary signature events.


NNSL file photo
Tom Lafferty lifts a tarp protecting a moosehide stretched out in Somba K’e Civic Plaza last summer. The camp returns this summer, offering visitors demonstrations and the chance to learn traditional skills.