Ever since we've been married (except for a ten year stretch when we lived in Nova Scotia) Lloyd has worked with and for the First Nations of Canada (Indians), first with the federal government and then for the Bands (tribes) themselves. Currently he is an Executive working with the North Peace Tribal Council, which is an association that provides professional services to the Dene, Beaver and Cree tribes located in Northwestern Alberta. It's a challenging job and a rewarding one, and one he enjoys very much.
A few weeks ago the Tribal Council hosted a cultural camp up north for the youth. The chiefs of the various tribes participated, as well as senior people from the Tribal Council, including Lloyd. Although his cultural roots are based in Great Britian for the most part, Lloyd was invited to speak to the youth on the importance of remembering and preserving their culture and traditions. Lloyd described his own heritage and background and how it is important to him and encouraged the youth to value theirs as well.
|Lloyd, delivering his address.|
|Chief Henry. The headdress is worn only for ceremonial events now.|
|Lloyd, far right, with the Chiefs and representatives of the five bands that make up the Tribal Council|
It was interesting to learn that the Dene 'Tha are closely related to the Navajo of Arizona, thousands of miles away. They share the same root language, stories and histories. It seems that the Dene' Tha (which means 'the people') broke off from the Navajo (who call themselves Dine - the people) thousands of years ago - one group going north and the other going south. Lloyd has met with the leaders of the Navajo a few times and arranged several retreats, bringing the northern Dene 'Tha down to Phoenix to meet with their 'brothers', the Navajo, having seminars and gatherings that have been beneficial to both groups and which have helped to broaden their understanding of their history.
History is fascinating and it's been an interesting experience having Lloyd work so close to the descendants Canada's original inhabitants. As much as he has enjoyed his work, we're looking forward to his retirement in the next year or so. We have places to go, people to see, and things to do before we become too old and decrepit to enjoy ourselves any more.