This Hansard has not been finalized - this is the "Blues" in Parliamentary speak, or unedited transcript in regular speak.

In the Legislative Assembly on February 9th, 2024. See this topic in context.

Member's Statement 62-20(1): Chief John Baptiste Cazon Building
Members' Statements

February 9th, 2024

Shane Thompson

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Good morning, Members of the Legislative Assembly. On Friday, January 26th, I had the opportunity to attend the name of the ECE building in Fort Simpson. I would like to thank the regional superintendent for the Department of Infrastructure in the Deh Cho region for organizing and officiating this event.

The event started an opening blessing as I know, a blessing is a beautiful way to invite positive energy and protection in the new space. I can tell you it was a powerful and heartfelt blessing for the building and its inhabitants. I will ask the blessing to be deemed as read and printed in the Hansard.
"Dear God, we ask for your blessings upon this new building and all who enter it. May this space be filled with love, joy, and peace. May it be a place of safety and protection for all who dwell within its walls. We pray that this building be a source of inspiration, creativity, and growth for its in habitants. May it be a space where dreams are realized and goals are achieved. We ask that you bless the foundation of this building and all the materials used in its construction. May they be strong, sturdy, and resilient. We also ask that you bless the workers who helped build this space and their families. Finally, we ask that you bless all who enter this building, whether they come to work, play, or seek refuge. May they be surrounded by your love and light and may this space be a sanctuary for their souls. We offer this prayer in gratitude and humility, knowing that all good things come from you. We ask for your continued blessings and guidance as we begin this new chapter in our lives. Amen.

We were fortunate to have the Deh Cho First Nations grand chief and the mayor provide kind words about the former Chief John Baptiste Cazon. The grand chief spoke about how well chief Cazon was liked by other chiefs up and down the valley. Not only was his wisdom respected but so was his drumming and tea dances that he would do after meetings and celebrations. As well, he shared words from his great-grandson who is soon to be a lawyer. I will ask that message to be deemed as read and printed into the Hansard.

As we know, Baptiste Cazon was chief from 1955 to 1974, longest serving chief of our Nation in consecutive years. Baptiste loved his Nation, his community, and his family and friends. This love and passion for the people and land made him a fierce advocate for our rights, culture, practices, and preservation of these lands. This advocacy was shown through his many community travels in the Deh Cho and Northwest Territories, his advocacy during the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline years when Thomas Berger was involved, his meetings with then former Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chretien, and his requested assistance to help Nick Sibbeston run for Northwest Territorial Council in 1970 because of the support he had from the Dene people. These are just some of the many things Baptiste did during his life. Baptiste loved his trap lines, his cabins, living a traditional life, and importantly his family and people. May the naming of this building uphold his legacy in this Nation and our Northwest Territories. Mahsi cho.

The mayor spoke about the family man and how proud he was of his family. He believed in strong families, education and working hard every day. As well, he spoke about how he welcomed son- and daughter-in-laws to the family and shared with them his teachings.

The building is now named Chief John Baptiste Cazon Building honouring the respect of the Fort Simpson elder and chief of the Liidlii Kue First Nation from 1955 to 1974. He passed away on July 31, 2004. Two of his sons did the unveiling of the new building sign.

The last part of my Member's statement, I would ask that it be deemed as read and printed into the Hansard.

In closing the ceremony, an explanation was provided on how the Government of the Northwest Territories recognizes individuals that reflect the importance of the area, people, culture, and customs.
Naming of GNWT buildings is something relatively new and goes through a public process. Proposals are put forward, then reviewed and recommended by the NWT Honours Advisory Council.

Mr. Clerk, the three recognized are the great great -- great-grandkids of Baptiste. The son-in-law was also the grandson of the great Baptiste Cazon, so. Thank you very much.

Members' statements. Member from Frame Lake.