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Reconciliation in Philanthropy: Learning By Doing

In Dene culture, preparing fish requires careful and acquired skills with a knife. I watched an elder a few times before picking up the knife to try myself. I hesitated, but the elder told me “you just have to do it, it’s the only way to learn.” I was embarrassed when I mistakenly cut through the fish’s bladder. The elder chuckled and encouraged me to keep going. After, she showed me again where to put the knife to avoid puncturing organs. You can watch an expert do it a thousand times, but until you try yourself you will never know how it feels to let the bones guide your knife. You learn and make mistakes, but you trust the elders to correct and encourage you. Dene learn and educate through a very hands-on approach of listening, watching, and doing.