No Place Like Home
Dorothy is from the small Northern community of Fort Resolution. After her local nurse on staff discovered irregularities with Dorothy’s bloodwork and overall energy level, a specialist from Northwest Territories stepped in with a treatment plan for colon cancer. Thanks to Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Dorothy is now receiving most of the post-cancer care she needs at home.
In collaboration with TELUS Health, authorized health professionals in seven health centres or hospitals in the Northwest Territories, including Fort Resolution, now have secure, instant access to the medical information of patients, which helps enhance the continuity of care.
Fort Resolution is on the shores of Great Slave Lake
Fort Resolution is home to approximately 525 people and many call Dorothy their auntie
Approximately 90% of Fort Resolution residents are First Nations
Approximately 34% of the community speaks an aboriginal language
This Fort Resolution Roman Catholic Church is the oldest building in the area
Fort Resolution is the oldest community in the NWT
“When you land in any community you are welcomed like family.”
– Jacqueline DeCoutere
A film shoot and a community to remember
Fort Resolution is in a part of Canada that few Canadians will ever get a chance to visit. To get there is a journey, but not as unreasonable as our film crew expected. We took a five-hour flight from Vancouver to Yellowknife and then travelled 40 minutes by float plane across the Great Slave Lake to a heavily treed and remote community with approximately 500 people, who were of mostly Dene and Métis descent.
When we landed, we were greeted with a smile and a friendly handshake from our community guide Billy. Born and raised in Fort Resolution, he was our chaperone for the shoot and recounted some of the community’s history – its important position at the mouth of the Great Slave River, and its origins as one of the first trading posts in Northern Canada. After a brief tour of the town, he introduced us to Dorothy and her husband, Angus.
Dorothy and Angus welcomed us into their home, and told us their story, even before we had set up our film gear. Angus described the town as it had been in his childhood. He showed us old black and white photos from his glory days as a fiddle player in The Native Cousins, a local band whose gigs brought them to communities across the Northwest Territories.
Dorothy was enthusiastic about being interviewed, and with zero self-consciousness, told us her stories as though they had happened the day before. When she focused on her recent battles with cancer and diabetes, she painted a vivid picture of the challenges of living in a remote community and how the digital nursing station and her electronic medical record has shaped her experience and kept her mostly at home.
After her interview, Dorothy took us on a tour of Fort Resolution, including the old church where she sang hymns as a young lady. We encouraged her to sing for the crew, and she happily obliged. Given the survival story she had just recounted, we were moved. When we wrapped, Dorothy, who is 78 years old, offered to help our crew of four healthy men carry our bags of heavy film gear
On our last night in Yellowknife, reflecting on meeting Dorothy and Angus, we managed to catch a glimpse of Aurora Borealis. It’s an everyday occurrence in the Northwest Territories, but for three Vancouver boys, it took our breath away. Fort Resolution may be a place not everyone gets to experience, but the characters we met, the stories we heard, and the nature of the local healthcare system that is, in many ways, more advanced than that in most urban centres, made it feel like a community we all need to know more about.