Just as dahshaa – a rare type of dried, rotted spruce wood – is essential to the moosehide-tanning process in Dene culture, self-determination and the alleviation of social suffering are necessary to Indigenous survival in Northwest Territories. But is self-government an effective path to self-determination? Finding Dahshaa shows where self-government negotiations between Canada and the Dehcho, Délînê, and Inuvialuit and Gwich’in peoples have gone wrong and offers, through descriptions of tanning practices that embody principles and values central to self-determination, an alternative model for negotiations. This book, which includes a foreword by Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, is the first ethnographic study of self-government negotiations in Canada.
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox holds a doctorate in polar studies from Cambridge University and for the past decade has worked for Indigenous peoples on self-government and related political development processes in Canada's Northwest Territories. For more information, visit findingdashaa.ca.