Royals to visit Dettah school, Canadian Rangers on N.W.T. leg of Royal Tour

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Prince Charles and Camilla during an official welcome ceremony in Iqaluit on June 29, 2017. The couple will visit Yellowknife and Dettah, N.W.T., on May 19. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press - image credit)
Prince Charles and Camilla during an official welcome ceremony in Iqaluit on June 29, 2017. The couple will visit Yellowknife and Dettah, N.W.T., on May 19. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press - image credit)

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will spend just around 4.5 hours in Yellowknife and Dettah, N.W.T., combined when they visit Canada next month.

But Charles and Camilla aim to fit a lot into that whirlwind visit on May 19.

The N.W.T. leg of the three-day 2022 Royal Tour to Canada will focus on Indigenous culture, language and history; climate change; women's safety and northern food production.

It will be Charles's first visit to the territory since 1979, and Camilla's first ever visit.

The trip is in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70 years on the throne. The couple will also stop in St. John's, N.L., and Ottawa.

On Tuesday, federal government officials shared an itinerary for the tightly-coordinated visit, from May 17 to 19, and briefed media on the particulars.

They said "engaging with Indigenous communities is central" to the tour, and that Newfoundland and Labrador and N.W.T. communities were included, in part, because these are places the royals haven't visited in a long time.

"It's been a while since we've had anybody from the royal family come and visit us," said N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod. "We're certainly going to be happy to welcome them to the North."

NWT Archives/Robert R. Janes fonds/N-2003-007: 0017
NWT Archives/Robert R. Janes fonds/N-2003-007: 0017

Charles and Camilla will leave Ottawa in the late morning and arrive at the Yellowknife airport where they will be met by "dignitaries," according to the royal tour itinerary.

They will then travel to Dettah, where they will observe "cultural demonstrations," including an opening prayer, drumming circle and a feeding the fire ceremony.

Camilla will visit Kaw Tay Whee School and hear about Wıı̀lıı̀deh language education, while Charles will speak with chiefs and elders.

Canadian officials said there is no set agenda for Charles' meeting with chiefs and elders. They described the meeting as an opportunity to "listen and learn."

In an N.W.T. government press release issued Tuesday, Chief Edward Sangris of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Dettah said his community looks forward to the royal tour. He said it will be a chance for "the world to see our beautiful community and the incredible people who make Dettah so special."

Adrian Wyld/CP
Adrian Wyld/CP

After leaving Dettah, Charles will meet with members of the Canadian Rangers at Fred Henne Territorial Park in Yellowknife, and mark the Rangers' 75th anniversary. He'll watch demonstrations and be appointed as an Honorary Canadian Ranger.

Meanwhile, Camilla will visit Lynn's Place, the YWCA-run transitional housing for women and children fleeing violence. She'll take part in a conversation with women and staff about safety services available in Yellowknife, and get a lesson in cooking bannock.

Canadian officials said Camilla is interested in women's issues, including intimate partner violence and women supporting women.

Charles, who has long spoken about the need to protect the environment, will "walk along the Dettah Ice Road" and speak with "local experts" about the effects of climate change in the N.W.T., according to the itinerary.

The ice road closed to traffic for the season last Friday. A spokesperson from the territory's Infrastructure department said the prince likely won't walk next to the road on May 19, as it could be very slushy and unsafe. Without knowing details of the actual plan, the spokesperson said Charles may walk next to the entrance to the road, on dry land.

Allison Chandler/CBC
Allison Chandler/CBC

The royal couple will then visit Charles's namesake in Yellowknife, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, where they'll meet northern food producers and others.

They'll also take part in a talk about the history of Treaty 11, which was signed 100 years ago last summer.

Charles and Camilla will get a demonstration of Inuit sports and learn about traditional crafts.

They'll then participate in a Platinum Jubilee Celebration and Charles will give "informal remarks," said officials.

After that, they'll get a presentation on a Platinum Jubilee garden, which will include orange flowers in honour of the orange shirt movement, and a plaque unveiling. It's unclear right now where exactly that garden will be.

Charles and Camilla will leave from the Yellowknife airport, and depart from Canada, at 6:30 p.m.

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