About the CDs

They Gave Me a Chance: Stories of fifty years with the Dene
With compelling sincerity, a master storyteller and historian chronicles lessons learned from living among the peoples of the Dene Nation. Speaking always from the heart, he tells of traditional ways and recent changes, of a lifetime fully lived.

“René Fumoleau offers his stories with gentle humour and a love for the north and its peoples. His words are a gift.” Charles Arnold, Director, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife

Disc 1: A Chance to Learn

René tells of arriving in a world where winter travel was by dog sled, summer travel by boat or canoe; where hunting and fishing were the means of survival; where distances were measured in pipes smoked; where wisdom was innate. He conjures moments of revelation—about caring and forgiveness, knowledge and faith—offered to him by those he lived with day by day.

Disc 2: A Chance to Grow
The stories move towards more recent years and struggles for Native rights. René created vignettes to explore political issues and explose the folies of contemporary life. The last pieces are interspersed with drumming and singing recorded in Radeli Loe (Fort Good Hope) in 1957. The fact that this music was made to comfort those transported to distant communities for health reasons adds to its poignancy.