The story of the making of the mace

After successfully completing the commemorative carving, when a call for entries for design and production of the new NWT mace was made, Bill and Dolphus and I decided to put in a proposal. We met in Yellowknife, did some brainstorming and came up with our basic design and concepts. Our proposal was accepted and we moved to Ottawa to complete the work.

We put together a fantastic team including silversmiths from the historic studio of Demarais et Robitaille in Old Montreal, Lois Etherington- Betteridge, our government liason, and Dene elders Sarah Hardisty and Rosie Firth. Bill and Dolphus did all the stone and silver carving. I was responsible for the three dimensional snowflake “crown,” the silver and gold Mountain Avens on the base and overseeing the project.

The completed mace was to be unveiled in January 2000 in Yellowknife. I had a teaching commitment in Behchoko (Rae Edzo) the previous fall, so Bill and Dolphus took over the final details and the production of the base that it rests on.

I remember very clearly one of the best phone calls I’ve ever had. Bill contacted me in Behchoko one day and said: “Allyson, I just wanted to let you know that if you never do anything else in your entire career, you can say that you once worked on something that was so expensive they came to pick it up in a Brinks truck.”

The NWT Mace is in the NWT Legislature when not traveling to the communities.