Rachel Crapeau has an extensive and distinguished career serving the public through her public and private sector engagements. A life-long resident of the Chief Drygeese Territory and Yellowknives Dene First Nation member Rachel has the distinct honour of servicing her people in several capacities. As chair of the land and environment committee during a period of great change in the NWT with the opening of the territories’ diamond mines and the ensuing diamond rush that drew many exploration companies to the Drygeese Territory. Rachel’s keen sense of public service was called upon by the Yellowknives Dene to re-write and administer its new election code and in doing so ushered in a period of renewed confidence and energy in the political process supporting the notable achievements of the Yellowknives Dene.
Rachel’s keen intellect and curious mind have led her to pursue careers as a certified nursing assistant, a Film Canada Studio’s graduate, and as a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Throughout her adventures Rachel has maintained her unshakable and unflappable Dene Identity by bringing humor and wit to her work and relationships. Being fluently bilingual in her Dene language and English, she has bridged the linguistic and cultural divide for her people and helped Dene and non-Dene better understand each other and shape their collective futures.
Supporting and documenting her peoples’ history and culture stands as a hallmark of Rachel’s work. From preparing traditional knowledge studies of the Drygeese Territory, to raising the standing and prominence of elders in regulatory proceedings, to planning and facilitating many Dene cultural programs, Rachel is a powerful voice of the past and a bridge into the future lives of Dene.
Her public mindedness and deep unwavering respect for the culture she was born into, and for all peoples, has led Rachel to tackle some of the North’s biggest development challenges. In the face of a booming diamond sector, Rachel worked tirelessly for her people to ensure their views, voices and values were intrinsic to shaping the nature and pace of development in the Drygeese territory. Respected for her environmental expertise and traditional knowledge contributions she was asked to serve as a board member of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board and then as a member of the panel that approved the Gahcho Kué diamond mine. Throughout her life and career Rachel has shown remarkable energy, resilience and tenacity to serve all Northerners with dignity and respect. Firmly rooted in her Dene identity, Rachel has bridged cultural divides and brought shared understanding to some of the North’s most daunting challenges.