Community Economic Development

Economic Development is a new department within Yellowknives Dene First Nation. As YKDFN has not ceded any lands or rights and we are a sovereign nation, YKDFN is moving forward towards continued self-determination and prosperity. A main goal of the Economic Development Division is to ensure economic growth and sustainability for YKDFN members.

Current projects.


Giant Mine Remediation Project (GMRP) aims to restore lands and re-establish ecological balance in the areas impacted by the defunct Giant Mine. The project is helping revive traditional practices and improve living conditions and infrastructure. The project’s inclusive approach ensures that it aligns with local needs and aspirations, while fostering a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation; as a clear departure from what has been done in the past.

In this regard, YKDFN has signed agreements with Canada with particular focus on socio-economic impacts – including preferred status for hiring YKDFN workforce and businesses for GMRP contracts. As of July 31st 2023, over half of the subcontracts have gone to Northern Indigenous companies including YKDFN. As part of the Socio-Economic Working Group and the Socio-Economic Advisory Body, YKDFN periodically meets with other stakeholders (including other First Nations, Metis groups, GNWT, Canada and others) to advise and guide the remediation process.


The YKDFN has signed a comprehensive mining agreement with Li-Ft Power, a mining exploration and development company operating in Chief Drygeese Territory. The Yellowknife Lithium Project is comprised of mineral leases that cover the majority of lithium pegmatites that make up the Yellowknife Pegmatite Province (YPP) and represent a significant interest in the future of Canada and the NWT critical minerals industry. Economic Development provided advice and support to Chief and Council through the process that resulted in the signing of this historic deal that will benefit the YKDFN through procurement opportunities, seasonal jobs and commercial revenues.


YKDFN has been working closely with the Government of Northwest Territories in providing critical input to the Taltson Hydro Expansion project. Along with other First Nation and Metis stakeholders, YKDFN is part of both the Working Group and the higher-level Steering Group.

Guided by the objective of providing eco-friendly power while mitigating adverse environmental impacts, the committees have been working diligently by discussing technical, operational and environmental dimensions of the project. A focus on the environmental and social ramifications for the communities has been key during deliberations to ensure the committees’ commitment to a holistic and all-encompassing evaluation. Recent updates have involved stakeholder visits to the hydro plant site to highlight the tangible implications of the project.


YKDFN has been partnering with the City of Yellowknife to implement the Joint Economic Development Strategy (JEDS) through a working group designed to develop policies and strategies that seriously consider the needs of our community members. Both City and YKDFN Councils are working actively to ensure the successful implementation of the most recent round of approved plans.


The YKDFN Career Centre opened its doors this year to facilitate greater synergies between our community and the employment market. The opening was kicked off with a Career Fair at Chief Drygeese Building in Dettah with a multitude of employers and stakeholders setting up booths for the community’s workforce, with a pronounced focus on the youth demographic.

The fair provided opportunities for the community’s workforce to directly interact with the showcased companies to share resumes and inquire about prospective job opportunities. The robust engagement and participation exhibited by the community at the Career Fair underscored its success and YKDFN is looking to offer similar activities and events in the future.


The Economic Development team is assisting community entrepreneurs by providing the right information needed to help set up and keep their businesses running successfully. This includes support in gaining access to capital, financial literacy opportunities and government-sponsored grants and contributions.


Economic Development continues to lead fundraising activities for YKDFN to support social and cultural events, such as festivals and hand games tournaments. Through these efforts Economic Development has been able to raise financial resources to support community events. This allows other departments to focus resources on core community programs and services and are ensure that members can enjoy both cultural activities and receive essential services from YKDFN.

Please send an email , if you have an idea of a project or a suggestion and would YKDFN Economic Development team to explore. Please note that if you email for a proposed project and it is not currently on the Strategic Plan,it will be review and considered for the next Strategic Plan.