With One Voice

"The journey of Angus Ekenale is very special. He was given a drum when he was really small. When his father was engaged with other Elders through drumming ceremonies, he was mentored through those encounters. He began to connect with the songs, stories, messages.

It didn't just connect with him in his home community, but through his journey. Going from community to community, he got the opportunity to meet Elders and to realize how gifted they are. Angus is gifted with songs, he has our own Ph.D.

Photo: Amos Scott

Songs are a way of connecting with the living beings around us. It's a way of humbling yourself. Angus Ekenale was mentored by other communities, by other elders, so he is able to sing these songs.

Photo: Drew Ann Wake

The place behind us is where the two rivers flow into each other. In the Dene language we say: "Liidlii". When the people say: "Kue", if you really look at how that word came about, it has to do with fire, 'ko'. 'Ko' has a role in our life, it warms us up, it cooks our food and helps us feed our relatives.

Since the days before Treaty 11, this island where Fort Simpson is located, has been a historical gathering place. From early spring to late fall, we gather here to sing and to dance and to feast. It's exciting to have these kinds of events with people from across the Dehcho participating.

The objective of having drummers together is to have them sing and play like one person. The more voices we have to participate, that helps the growth of the family. In life there are hardships, and the singing and drumming helps us to overcome those hardships.

Photo: Amos Scott

When things are being shared, there are songs that people sing, messages, stories that go with the languages and the songs. It is a way to get you to be present, to help you connect. It grounds you and gets you to embrace this life that we have. The language helps you to grasp the teachings that come through the songs."

Chief Gerald Antoine

Photo: Linda MacCannell