Trails of our Ancestors: Building a Nation

 For centuries the Tłı̨chǫ of the Northwest Territories have relied on an intimate knowledge of the land and its wildlife to survive. The Tłı̨chǫ lived in a yearly cycle of following traditional trails in birchbark canoes to the barren lands in the fall to harvest the caribou herd; and then heading below the tree-line for the long northern winter until the warmth and life of spring returns."

Read the Trails of our Ancestors in PDF here.

Winter moccasins with caribou skin liners - whààkeè

These winter moccasins were made in 1978 by a group of women sewing for Operation Heritage in Behchokǫ̀.  They are made of caribou skin in a traditional style and have liners made with caribou skin with the hair left on.  Mrs. Bernadette Williah recounts that when the hair was left on the hide, people would tan the hide on the inside only.  In this way linings were made for shoes and mitts.  In the old days that was done so that every family member had something wear in the cold weather months. 

1763 – Royal Proclamation

When Europeans began living in North America there was enough land and resources so that all people could live together. HOWEVER as more and more Europeans arrived, tension over the land was created. The government at that time (British) created the Royal Proclamation to deal with this problem. The Royal Proclamation:

The Tłı̨chǫ Constitution..

In 2000, Tłı̨chǫ created their own Tłı̨chǫ Constitution. The Tłı̨chǫ Constitution is the highest Tłı̨chǫ law. In its preamble, it lays out the fundamental principles that will guide the Tłı̨chǫ people and their Government. The Constitution also defines the powers and structure of the Tłı̨chǫ Government, and set out the rights of all Tłı̨chǫ Citizens. 

 All Tłı̨chǫ laws must agree with the Tłı̨chǫ Constitution, and the Tłı̨chǫ Government must always act according to its rules. 

Nunavut "Parker Line".

For a number of years, Dene Metis and the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut tried to negotiate a deal on the boundry between their traditional territories. The negotiations failed and in 1991 a former NWT Commissioner, John Parker, was appointed to arbitrate on the issue. After hearing both sides, Parker proposed a boundry line, which has come to be known as the “Parker Line”.

The “Parker Line” was put to a vote in 1992 by the people of the NWT, who approved it by a small majority. Tłı̨chǫ, however, voted almost unanimously against it.

9th Annual Tłı̨chǫ Gathering

9th Annual Tłı̨chǫ Gathering and 1st Session of the 3rd Tłı̨chǫ Assembly, on August 6, 7, and 8, 2013 in Behchokǫ̀ at the Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School. 

The purpose of the Annual Gathering is to bring people together to share in the social, political, and cultural activities of the Tłı̨chǫ. 



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