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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
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.
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.