Dechinta Bush University: Education in the North

Started in 2008 on traditional Dene territory (Yellowknife), at Dechinta University, students learn about self-determination and the land. Dechinta combines academics and theory with cultural activities on the land and indigenous knowledge. One such activity is learning to tan moose hides.

Dechinta was started by Erin Freeland Ballantyne who is non-Indigenous but grew up on the Dene territory in Yellowknife.

Dechinta means ‘the bush’ in the Dene language. Dechinta is a way to keep members in the northern communities whereas, traditionally, in order to get a higher education, members must move away. It also provides youth with skills and knowledge relevant to their lives and communities.

The majority of instruction takes place outdoors. Students have a selection of courses from building sustainable communities to self-determination.

Admission requirements are based on life experience, willingness to learn and dedication. For more information, please check out

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