Moral Awakening

The purpose of the Moral Awakening exhibit page is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons, and one of Canada’s links to this history. It is a heritage that connects Indigenous peoples, Canadians, and people all over the world who are concerned with peace, reconciliation, and social justice. The film contributes to the debate on the utility and value in nuclear weapons in an interconnected world. But the main goal is to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the Dene people of Délı̨nę, Northwest Territories, Canada, a story long silenced.

The film involves different locations across Canada as we piece together the incredible story of mining and transporting iron ore from Port Radium on the Great Bear Lake to Port Hope for refining, and then on to the United States for use in the Manhattan Project. The Dene People were hired to work as ore bag carriers and on the barges. In the decades that followed, many began to reflect on the impact of the mining and the legacy of the atomic bomb on the health and spiritual well-being of the community and it people. In telling their story, the Dene demonstrate their fortitude as the community moves forward to achieve greater control of its own future.

The War Heritage Research Initiative has produced over 30 short documentary films profiling Canada’s heritage of the world wars, both in our country and overseas. Using sites of memory as gateways to the past, we look to local storytellers deeply connected to these places, people we call ‘guardians of remembrance’. They help us to understand the significance of learning this heritage, how it shapes understandings of who we are, and how we can be inspired to make a better world. The film is for educational purposes and we welcome sharing the link to this website and participation in the discussion forum. For more information about the War Heritage Research Initiative, please contact us here.

Many people were involved in the making of the film and they are acknowledged in the film credits and below. Special thanks to Mary-Anne Neal, Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University, for her sharing of expertise of the Dene culture and for facilitating collaboration with the people of Deline. Mary-Anne’s advice and assistance throughout the project were invaluable to its success. In the design of this exhibit page, we would like to thank Keith Webster and Karyn Lemberg in RRU’s Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies, for their support and expertise in developing the Moral Awakening exhibit site. In addition, thank you to Dan Anthon, Instructional Media Technician, for his photographs. The Moral Awakening exhibit is hosted through the RRU Library Showcase. For more information about Showcase, please contact

Exhibit dates:  July 2020 (Online)

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Cover image: Copyright: Dan Anthon, Royal Roads University.