Mahsi, Mr. Speaker. The Northwest Territories has a growing demographic of people whose voices are often not heard nor adhered to. This demographic is the elders or knowledge-keepers.
Mr. Speaker, in my Dene culture, we say to the young to respect the elders as the young do not know what the knowledge-keepers have experienced in their lifetime. Many have experienced hardships in their lives in providing for their families but have prevailed in some way, and they have always had comforting words to soothe away any pains others may be going through. There is a term coined that best describes what one does not know of them: do not criticize a knowledge-keeper unless you have walked a mile in their moccasins.
Mr. Speaker, one of the mandates that this Assembly has identified is to assist the elders to age in place, that is to stay in their own home and in their home community. Families do not want to see their knowledge-keepers leave the community to be placed into a home in another community, a place where they are in a totally strange environment, that they did not grow up in, most of all, away from their families, the very people they have nurtured all their lives. We must not forget the many grandchildren who are left behind. Far too often, the children and grandchildren do not get to spend time with the knowledge-keepers who, in time, will pass, and for all that we know, they may have been lonely for family and aching to be in the community they call home.
Mr. Speaker, I will have questions for the Minister of Health and Social Services at the appropriate time. Mahsi.