Pan-Territorial On-The-Land Summit Brings Together Land-Based Programming Experts to Focus on Community Wellness

March 14, 2017
News Releases

DETTAH (March 14, 2017) - The Department of Health and Social Services, with support from Health Canada, is hosting a pan-territorial on-the-land summit to provide an opportunity for land-based programming experts to exchange best practices and discuss opportunities and challenges.

The Summit is being held in Dettah from March 14 to 16, and will give participants the opportunity to explore themes on healing; culture; guardianship; collaboration; and evaluation. Participants will be able to learn from local and national land-based programming experts, build networks and foster new relationships. The goal of the Summit is for participants to leave with new ideas that they can use in delivering programs that improve on community wellness.

The Summit is by invitation only, due to space and budget limitations. However, residents can register for some sessions through webinar. Residents can also tune into CKLB radio for live broadcast of the plenary presentations.

The GNWT is committed to meeting its mandate for enhancing access to culturally-appropriate programs and services. In keeping with this commitment, the Summit provides an opportunity to share and celebrate innovation and successes demonstrated by land-based programs across the North.


“Health Canada is pleased to support this summit.  It will highlight on-the-land initiatives as an emerging and powerful approach to supporting mental wellness in Indigenous communities, serving as an example in the North and across the country.”
- Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, Government of Canada

“The land is a source of life for all northern people. Much of the social context of the NWT is the product of historical factors such as colonization, residential schools and the removal of people’s power to make decisions about their own lives. This Summit is a chance for program leaders and experts from across the north and other parts of Canada to share how they are reconnecting with the land to help improve individual and community well-being.”
- Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories

“Inuit Societal Values emphasize the importance of being on the land, which contribute to the quality of life of Inuit and sharing of our traditions and culture. The key to developing land-based skills for our youth is through participation and mentoring. This Summit is a resource that offers our youth the opportunity to learn and engage with our land.”
- George Hickes, Minister of Health, Government of Nunavut

“We are proud to support work by First Nations to provide land-based programs for health and healing. Improving mental wellness services in rural communities is a priority for our government. We believe that a people-centred approach focused on cultural ways of healing will help all Yukoners thrive and enhance the well-being of our communities.”
- Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of Yukon

"The relationship with the land continues to be essential to Indigenous people. The land is a source of wellness and healing, and is the basis of our language and culture. We are honoured to be hosting this important gathering on Chief Drygeese Territory, the traditional lands of the Yellowknives Dene.”
- Chief Edward Sangris, Yellowknives Dene First Nation

Quick Facts

  • Summit will explore the themes of  healing; culture; guardianship; collaboration; and evaluation.
  • Twenty nine speakers from across Canada, including local experts, will be showcasing best practices of on-the-land programming.
  • The Department of Health and Social Services worked with Health Canada, the NWT Association of Communities, and an expert advisory committee to bring together the Summit.
  • Key players in OTL programming in the NWT were engaged in the planning process, including partners in the NWT On the Land Collaborative Fund; the OTL program delivery network coordinated by NWTRPA; and projects funded by the department’s own OTL Healing Fund.

Related Links

Media Contact:

Damien Healy
Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
1-867-767-9090 ext. 49034

Health Canada

Ron Wassink
Communications Specialist
Department of Health
PO Box 1000, Stn 1000, Iqaluit, Nunavut, X0A 0H0

Michael Edwards
Communications, Health & Social Services