Justina Black is a proud member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation born and raised in Somba K’e Denenedeh (Yellowknife, NT). Justina’s parents are Mark Johnson and Lucie Black. Justina inherits her Dene ancestry from her mother’s side, her grandmother was Bella Eyakfwo and was a Tłicho Dene woman who grew up living a traditional life on the Land. Her grandfather Johnny Base was a T’atsaotine Dene man who travelled the Land and was oftentimes asked to be a translator for the chiefs in Denendeh. Justina is a middle child with two younger brothers and two older sisters. She and her siblings have spent the better part of their lives involved in Land-based programming having attended K’alemi Dene School, the community school of N’dilo. Justina is passionate about learning from her elders and traditional knowledge holders.
As a young adult, Justina has had several opportunities to uphold the values that come from Land-based educational programming for youth and how important the Land is in strengthening our Dene people with Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning where she currently works as Land-based Youth Programmer and Community Outreach Coordinator. While Justina does believe that as Dene people we must be strong in two worlds, the traditional and the modern, she firmly believe that we must be strongly rooted and grounded in our traditions in our own territory before we can walk in both worlds without losing those values. Justina is looking forward to working with and for the community of Ndilo for the next four years to bring back the Dene values and traditions to allow our communities of Dettah and Ndilo to thrive in our Dene ways of being.”