Premiere: A Moral Awakening

Marking the 75th anniversary of the use of the atom bomb and its legacy for the Délı̨nę First Nation and for all Canadians.

Watch Feature Film


The film, ‘A Moral Awakening’, explores the heritage of service and sacrifice of the people of Délı̨nę in the making of the atom bomb during the Second World War. It is also a story of what is remembered, forgotten, and silenced in history.

About the Exhibit

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 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 people of Délı̨nę 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 its people. In telling their story, the people of Délı̨nę demonstrate their fortitude as the community moves forward to achieve greater control of its own future.

The War Heritage Research Initiative led by Dr. Geoffrey Bird, has written, directed, and produced over 30 short documentary films profiling Canada’s heritage related to the World Wars, both in our country and overseas. The films rely on sites of memory as the gateways to the past along with 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 our identity, and how we can be inspired to make a better world. These films are 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 sharing her expertise of the Dene culture and for facilitating collaboration with the people of Deline. Mary-Anne’s advice and assistance throughout the process were invaluable to its success. In the design and development of this exhibit site, 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 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 us here.


Royal Roads University is located on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum  and Lekwungen First Nations’ ancestors and families.

The Moral Awakening film is for educational purposes and we welcome sharing the link to this website. Royal Roads University’s War Heritage Research Initiative obtained the necessary ethics approval and copyright permissions to display the Moral Awakening film and associated content by the Deline people on this website. Images, footage, music, and content in the Moral Awakening film are protected by copyright and should therefore not be used and/or displayed elsewhere without explicit permission from the Deline Got’line Government and/or Royal Roads University.