N.W.T. ‘honoured’ by upcoming royal visit, Yellowknives Dene still hoping for a phone call

N.W.T. ‘honoured’ by upcoming royal visit, Yellowknives Dene still hoping for a phone call

by Sue Jones
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The N.W.T. premier says the territory is “honoured” to host Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in their upcoming visit. Meanwhile, Edward Sangris, chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Dettah, says he learned of the visit on TV.

Britain Royals

Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive to attend the Christmas Day morning church service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, England, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021. (Jonathan Brady, Pool via AP) (Jonathan Brady/The Associated Press)

The N.W.T. premier says the territory is “honoured” by the upcoming visit of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Meanwhile, Yellowknives Dene Chief Edward Sangris says he only learned of the visit on TV. 

As announced earlier this week, the royals will visit the Northwest Territories in May. Their three-day Canadian tour will also include stops in Ottawa and Newfoundland, with more details expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

The tour is part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, commemorating 70 years of the Queen as monarch. 

In a statement, Premier Caroline Cochrane called the visit “an opportunity for northerners to demonstrate their unmatched hospitality and to showcase for the world the rich and diverse cultures, languages, and traditions of [the] territory.” 

Will And Kate In Canada

Prince William and Catherine react during a road hockey shootout at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife, N.W.T., on July 5, during the newlyweds’ 2016 royal tour across the country. ((Phil Noble/Reuters))

Chief Sangris said that people are looking forward to the couple’s visit. He thinks it might be good for tourism. 

But he said he only heard out about it through TV, and that their office has not been contacted about the visit. 

Sangris is hoping that the royals reach out to them before they arrive. “This is Yellowknives Dene traditional territory, so it would be respectful if they can,” he said. 

Edward Sangris

Edward Sangris, the Dettah chief for Yellowknives Dene First Nation. Pictured in 2019. (Gabriela Panza Beltrandi/CBC)

The official itinerary of the royal visit to the N.W.T. has not been released, but Sangris recalls Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 visit to Yellowknife.

“We shook hands with them, and that was it. We didn’t have [any] talk with them.” 

Sangris would like this visit to be different. “Hopefully we can talk to [Prince Charles and Camilla], other than just say hello and shake their hands, and they’re gone,” he said. 

Costs of royal visits

Prince Charles and Camilla last visited Canada in 2017, during the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. According to reports, the three-day trip cost the country nearly $1 million. 

The last royal visit to the N.W.T. was during the 2011 royal tour of Canada, when Prince William and Kate Middleton made a one-day stop in Yellowknife on July 5. 

In an email response, Cochrane said that the 2011 visit cost the territory $175,000. She couldn’t yet confirm the cost of the upcoming royal visit. 

Stuart Hodgson Prince Of Wales Northern Heritage Museum

Former N.W.T. commissioner Stuart Hodgson speaks during the opening of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife in 1979. Prince Charles attended the event. (Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)

A large portion of costs for royal visits belong to the federal government. 

“The federal government is wholly responsible for the costs of transporting the royal party within Canada, the cost of federal events in the N.W.T. and for security costs,” Cochrane said.  

“Receiving jurisdictions and the federal government will share the cost of accommodations, per diems and transportation to Canada for the royal party.” 

A representative for Yellowknife’s Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre responded to questions about the upcoming visit by email. 

Andrew Livingston called Prince Charles’ return to the N.W.T. “an exciting moment in the history of the [Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre].”

The centre is named after Prince Charles, and was last visited by him in 1979 when he came for its opening. 

The Canadian Armed Forces provided a similar email response. “As an institution steeped in royal tradition and customs, we certainly look forward to the visit,” wrote a spokesperson.

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