Well, another post on my adventures out west. A bit about where I am: The community is called Chateh and is located in Alberta. It is quite far north (like I previously mentioned more north than Garden River ON and for my southern ON friends, more north than Barrie ON). I love the north but I don’t like the mosquitos!
I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people in the community, whether they are from the community or not. Recently, my partner and I had the opportunity to meet the Chief Ahnassay of the Dene Tha First Nation (DTFN) and had the opportunity to ask him a question that has been on my mind since being placed in Chateh.
Sometimes the community is referred to as Assumption. However, a lot of the community members from Chateh refer to the community to the same name, Chateh, and I wanted to know the difference in names. When we had met the Chief, this is one of the many questions we asked. He stated that the name Assumption comes from the Bible in the part where Mary’s body and soul is assumed into heaven (source). And the name Chateh comes from one of the traditional chief’s name, Chief Chateh. Chief Chateh was one of the traditional Chiefs along with Chief Zama, Talley, and Chonkolay (source). He also stated that they are moving away from this name, Assumption, and towards the name, Chateh. One of the most prominent steps toward this move is evident with the community name, Chateh, being present on maps and road signs! While one may not understand the significance of names/traditional names, one can appreciate that naming/labels are important to one’s identity. Recognizing the importance of naming one’s own self or own community as opposed to having names or labels imposed onto one’s self or community is important to Indigenous peoples and nations’ self-determination.
I feel really honored to be here in this community and to be surrounded by a group of amazing individuals…obviously! 😉 All of whom include my partner, the youth, and the community members.