The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall took part in a traditional First Nations welcome ceremony tonight as they arrived in Yellowknife, just 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle, on the last day of their Canadian tour.
They were invited to participate in a ‘Feeding the Fire Ceremony’ guided by Elder Bernadette Martin.
Beginning with an opening prayer followed by a prayer to the spirits, the couple put offerings of tobacco into a fire as drummers accompanied the ceremony.
The couple were visiting the Dettah indigenous community on the shores of picturesque Great Slave Lake.
They were welcomed by the two Chiefs for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation – Chief Edward Sangris and Chief Fred Sangris.
Prince Charles and Camilla were introduced to representatives from the Northwest Territories Council of Leaders as crowds thronged to catch a glimpse of the royal visitors.
After the ceremony the prince and duchess were shown stunning examples of local handicrafts made by 21-year-old Kateri Lynn.
She showed them the angers of the first Caribou she shot, as we as a musk rat hat, caribou hide jacket and beaver fur line mukluks.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall arrive in Yellowknife, on a trip to Canada to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
Pictured: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, disembark their plane in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Pictured: Charles, The Prince of Wales and Camilla are welcomed by the two Chiefs for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Pictured: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend a feeding the fire ceremony in Dettah, Northwest Territory
Charles and Camilla visit the Dettah community and are welcomed by the two Chiefs for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation
Ashes rise from the fire as Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend a feeding the fire ceremony
Pictured: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Dettah community, in Yellowknife
Pictured: Camilla (left) arriving in Yellowknife earlier today before (right) taking part in the feeding the fire ceremony
She then gifted the couple with beautiful-beaded moose-hide and beaver fur moccasins she had made them.
The couple appeared delighted as she told them: ‘If you have cold floors they will be wonderful.’
Kateri said afterwards that she had learnt her skills from her mother and hoped one day to open her own shop.
She said: ‘They were just lovely and the prince was very keen to learn about the tanning processes.’
Dettah is the Yellowknives Dene First Nation community in the Northern region of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, with a population of around 220 people.
The name ‘Dettah’ means ‘charcoal’ or ‘burnt point’, which comes from a devastating fire that reduced the community to ashes in 1959.
Dettah used to be a much more isolated community until 1967 when Her Majesty The Queen’s first visit to the Northwest Territories prompted the construction of a connecting road between Dettah and Yellowknife.
Later in the day, the Duchess of Cornwall presented school children in the remote community in Northwestern Canada with a copy of a fairytale story about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Prince Charles greets people after arriving in Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, during part of the Royal Tour of Canada
Pictured: Prince Charles, second from left, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, left, greet people after arriving in Yellowknife
Pictured: Prince Charles, right, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, second from right, look at a display of traditional hunting tools and clothing after arriving in Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, during part of the Royal Tour of Canada, Thursday, May 19
The Duchess gave a parcel of books to youngsters at the Kaw Tay Whee Community School in Dettah, which teaches just 32 pupils in the small community.
She took part in a language lesson with the youngest members of the kindergarten, sitting with Elder Mary Louise Drygeese to hear simple phrases and numbers in a Wıìlıìdeh language.
With headteacher Lea Lamoureux as her guide, she then visited students aged seven to 11 to join them filming a puppet show using a green screen. The Duchess posed with the puppets, appearing in front of footage of the Northern Lights when seen on a television screen.
The students were also filming a stop-motion animation of a Canadian woodland scene, complete with moose, calling it ‘very clever’.
Outside, in tents, she watched as another class learned traditional beading and created ornaments using fish scales dyed with easter egg colouring.
A fourth and final lesson saw her hear about fishing in the Dettah community, using 100ft nets under the ice to catch a range of fish.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall walks with children from the Kaw Tay Whee School on the final day of their Canadian Royal Tour
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speaks with children from the Kaw Tay Whee School on the final day of their tour in Yellowknife
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speaks with children from the Kaw Tay Whee School on the final day of their Canadian tour
Camilla joins the Junior Kindergarten class, taught by Ms. Sally Drygeese, assisted by her mother, Elder Mary Louise Drygeese
Learning fun: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visits Kaw Tay Whee School on the final day of the Royal tour of Canada
Pictured: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall stands next to puppets and green screen, as she visits Kaw Tay Whee School
Hearing of the plentiful wildlife living around the water beside the school, she said. ‘So you’ve got a bit of everything and the children can learn all about it.’
Before a group photograph with the whole school and its teachers, star pupils presented the Duchess with a small stack of Canadian children’s books.
In return, she produced around six books wrapped in ribbon, including Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, and a Julia Donaldson.
Among them was Michael Morpurgo’s There Once Is A Queen, a fairytale written in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The Duchess of Cornwall went on to emphasise the importance of refuges for women as she visited a ‘healthy living space’ for those fleeing domestic abuse during a visit to a women and children’s refuge.
Camilla was visiting a YWCA transitional housing centre in Yellowknife which can house up to 18 victims of violence and their children.
It is classed as a transitional safe housing centre for women in need of a stable and safe environment to call home.
Sitting around a table with some of the women who have used its services, as well as counsellors, the duchess listened intently as a woman named Susie recounted her story.
Pictured: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall makes Bannock traditional bread at YWCA, a safe transitional housing centre that offers services for women and children fleeing violence and in need of a stable and safe environment to call home
Pictured: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall makes Bannock traditional bread at YWCA, a safe transitional housing centre
Pictured: Demonstrations of fish scale artwork and fish drying with pupils from Kaw Tay Whee School during Camilla’s visit
‘I am so glad that life is being mended again,’ the duchess said.
‘Thank you for tell me about it. I feel privileged to hear your story.’
She told another women, Elizabeth: ‘They are doing an incredibly good job. It’s always good to hear these stories.’
The centre was set up by Lyda in 2014, who has worked in the domestic violence arena for 35 years but whose dream it always was to set up a refuge.
‘Well you must be very proud of what you achieved now,’ said Camilla.
‘You do an incredible job here.
‘It is just so important to have places like this. There are so very few places available to vulnerable women previously. ‘
One of the counsellors told her: ‘You need places of refuge and somewhere to sit down and have coffee and tea and make things. It’s part of the healing process.’
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses for a group photo with the students and staff of Kaw Tay Whee School before departure
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with students of Kaw Tay Whee School before departure on day three of Royal Tour of Canada
Pictured: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall poses for a photograph during a visit to Dettah on day three of their Royal Tour
The duchess asked whether she had herself been a victim of abuse and the woman confirmed she had.
‘There is no better person to understand. I meet many women who have at one time sought help and then go back into the system to use their knowledge to help others,’ the Duchess said.
The counsellor added: ‘The sharing is so important. I treat them with the respect that they deserve, someone should be there for them.’
Camilla replied: ‘How lucky they are to have you here for them. It has been hidden for long, people never talked about it. But now it is alright to talk about it. There is nothing to be ashamed of.’
One of the clients told her: ‘When you are married to a man who claims to love you and they start abusing you, you feel ashamed. Today you can walk tall.’
After her chat the duchess was encouraged to try her hand and make bannock – a staple in Northern Canadian cuisine for centuries.
It is a form of bread using water, flour, baking soda and lard, and sugar or salt depending on whether one is cooking a meal or a dessert.
The duchess was given salt to add and an egg and oil mixture to mix in.
Prince Charles visits the Canadian Rangers at Fred Henne Territorial Park to mark the organization’s 75th anniversary
Pictured: Prince Charles inspects a weapon while visiting the Canadian Rangers at Fred Henne Territorial Park earlier today
Prince Charles visits the Canadian Rangers at Fred Henne Territorial Park to mark the organization’s 75th anniversary
Charles is shown a vehicle during his visit to the Canadian Rangers at Fred Henne Territorial Park on their 75th anniversary
Prince Charles poses for pictures near the Great Slave Lake on the final day of her Canadian 2022 Royal Tour in Yellowknife
The YWCA contains 18 suites on 3 floors and offers a variety of layouts depending on the individual’s needs.
Applicants are assessed for need and willingness to engage in the programming offered at the centre; rent is affordable, in accordance with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) affordability guidelines, and tenants can stay for up to 3 years either by themselves or with their children.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales tried out a snowmobile for size and marvelled at its modern creature comfort of heated handles when he met Canadian Rangers.
Charles did not need to be asked twice to sit astride the machine when he met members of the organisation in the Northwest Territories to learn about their role and the equipment they use.
The snow mobile costs 25,000 Canadian dollars and has all the accessories needed by the Rangers who describe the vehicle as an essential piece of kit for the winter conditions when the landscape is covered in snow and ice.
As he sat on the machine he was told by Sergeant Andrea Fischer the handle bars he gripped had heaters and Charles, who was a keen skier, referred to riding a snow mobile.
He said ‘When I tried it 40 years ago there were no hand warmers’.
Earlier when he was shown a new rifle adopted by the Rangers and the older version they had used, a Lee Enfield rifle, he recognised it immediately and said: ‘When I was at school 60 years ago that’s what we were using.’
Pictured: Charles did not need to be asked twice to sit astride the machine when he met members of the Canadian Rangers
While inspecting some of the weapons used by the Rangers, Charles recalled how he used the same rifle when at school
At the end of his tour showcasing the Rangers he was presented with a uniform – a red hoodie – and made an honorary Ranger
Prince Charles walks near the Great Slave Lake on the final day of her Canadian 2022 Royal Tour in Yellowknife
At the end of his tour of outdoor displays showcasing the Rangers he was presented with their uniform – a red hoodie – and made an honorary Ranger.
Prince Charles then threw caution to the wind as he took part in a 1,000-year-old traditional Dene Drum Dance in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
The Prince of Wales spoke to Chief Edward Sangris and Chief Fred Sangris in private about issues hitting indigenous people on his trip to see the Yellowknives Dene First Nation Leadership at the Chief Drygeese Government Building, in Detta.
He also watched two teams take part in demonstrations of the Dene Hand Game contest.
Charles was then happily coaxed by the chiefs to take part in a dance.
He smiled as dancers took selfies while the line wound itself in a circle in the room.
Jennifer Drygeese, 67, said afterwards: ‘He was really good, he had rhythm. He really looked like he enjoyed himself.
‘It means a lot to us. He just got up and danced. He looked like he has done it before.’
Chief Edward said: ‘It was awesome. He fitted right in. It shows he really does care about the community.’
The 1,000-year-old Dene Drum Dance consists of drumming and singing, is performed at most gatherings and celebrations.
Pictured: Prince Charles walks near the Great Slave Lake on the final day of his Canadian 2022 Royal Tour in Yellowknife
Pictured: Prince Charles holds a bag as he reacts near the Great Slave Lake on the final day of his Canadian tour
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is shown traditional Dene shoes on day three of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of Canada
The drummers sing and play their caribou hide drums in a rhythmic beat while dancing around in a clockwise direction to follow the direction of the sun.
Charles also gave the chiefs two bird boxes from his home at Highgrove.
It comes after the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall departed a rain drenched Ottawa this morning, en route to the Northwest Territories on the final day of their visit to Canada.
Charles and Camilla boarded their Royal Canadian Air Force plane at 11am local time.
The royal couple were escorted to the plane before shaking hands and saying goodbye to city mayor Jim Watson and chief Algonquins of Pikawakanagan First Nartion, Chief Wendy Jocko.
Camilla was first up the stairs on her own closely followed by Charles.
The Duke and Duchess sheltered from the rain under umbrellas as they said goodbye to Canadian dignitaries before boarding their plane to Yellowknife.
The action-packed second day of their whirlwind tour of the country was spent visiting a local school, touring a market and watching a performance by the Canadian Mounties.
The royal couple laid a wreath at the National War Memorial and attended a service at a Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, where two protesters holding ‘abolish the monarchy’ signs stood on the lawn outside as they made their way inside.
It comes amid calls for Charles to apologise on behalf of the monarchy for the ill treatment of indigenous communities. Charles addressed the issue of reconciliation in his maiden royal tour speech yesterday, saying is time to find new ways to ‘come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of Canada’s past’.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall departed a rain drenched Ottawa this morning, en route to the Northwest Territories on the final day of their visit to Canada
Charles and Camilla boarded a Royal Canadian Air Force plane at 11am local time, saying goodbye to Canadian dignitaries
Camilla was first up the stairs closely followed by Charles as they departed for Yellowknife for the final day of their tour
Charles followed Camilla up the stairs as the royal couple depart for Yellowknife on the final day of their Canadian tour
The prince made the remarks after travelling from Newfoundland and Labrador, where he attended an official welcome ceremony at the Confederation Building in St John’s.
He had been urged to apologise on behalf of the monarchy ahead of touching down in Canada on their first day of their tour yesterday.
Cassidy Caron, National Council President of the Metis people, said she intended to raise the issue personally with the heir to the throne when they meet today.
Mary Teegee, executive director of child and family services at Carrier Sekani Family Services in the province of British Columbia, said: ‘They also have to understand that they are not the leaders in our nation,’ adding that recognition of the harms of colonisation are needed rather than just a ‘trite’ apology.
The pressure comes after two recent royal visits to the Caribbean – by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Earl and Countess of Wessex – attracted criticism for promoting ‘colonialism’ and calls for reparations over Britain’s role in the historic slave trade.
The Prince and Duchess sheltered from the rain under umbrellas as they said goodbye to Canadian dignitaries
Nevertheless, Charles and Camilla received a very warm welcome from cheering crowds, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior leaders from indigenous groups.
Delivering a speech in both English and French, Charles referred directly to the process of reconciliation in Canada, talking about ‘our collective need’ to come to terms with the ‘darker and more difficult aspects of the past’.
He said: ‘However, as we look to our collective future, as one people sharing one planet, we must find new ways to come to terms with the darker and more difficult aspects of the past: acknowledging, reconciling and striving to do better. It is a process that starts with listening.’
He continued: ‘I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss with the Governor General the vital process of reconciliation in this country – not a one-off act, of course, but an ongoing commitment to healing, respect and understanding.
‘I know that our visit here this week comes at an important moment – with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada committing to reflect honestly and openly on the past and to forge a new relationship for the future…’
He added that he and his wife ‘look forward to listening to you and learning about the future you are working to build. ‘
‘As so often in the history of this country and her people, Canadians have embarked on a journey that demands commitment and courage. My wife and I could hardly be more privileged to travel part of this journey with you and we are deeply grateful for your warm welcome, which we will carry with us throughout this entire tour.’
The UK enjoys a warm relationship with Canada, where the Queen is head of state, and whose Platinum Jubilee Charles and Camilla’s three-day visit is designed to celebrate.