Traditional Knowledge

Songs of the Tłı̨chǫ Drum Dance

“Songs of the Tłı̨chǫ Drum Dance” is a recording of a special celebration of the New Year by accomplished northern drummers. This is a traditional time of excitement and happiness when people from all the Tłı̨chǫ communities come together in unity and togetherness. This recording showcases the drum songs of musicians from Behchokǫ̀, Gamètı̀, Wekweètı̀ and Whatı̀ during the 1982 New Year’s Eve Celebration in Behchokǫ̀, NT.

Tłı̨chǫ Ekwǫ̀ Nı̨hmbàa Project

Thirty-eight of the 75 caribou skins needed for the project were collected during the Chief Jimmy Bruneau High School caribou hunt on the barrenlands near Grizzley Bear Lake in 1999. Additional hides were purchased from other woman residing in the outlying Dogrib communities of Rae Lakes, Whatì, and Wekweètì,

Elders established a camp at Russell Lake near Rae where, throughout the fall of 1999 and spring of 2000, the lodges were made.  A group of seven Dogrib women agreed to tan the hides, sew and decorate the lodges, and to teach their skills to young Dogrib children.

Tłı̨chǫ K'ielà Project

In June of 1996 six Tłįcho elders spent two weeks at Russell Lake outside Behchokǫ̀ in the NWT building a birchbark canoe. This project was captured on video which celebrates the rediscovery of lost skills and demonstrates the sharing of talents and effort that communities required to make a living from the land.

Moose skin bag sewn with sinew

This bag is made from calf moose skin, sewn with sinew and lined with cotton fabric. A smoked, tanned moose hide collar holds a drawstring to pull the bag shut. This kind of bag is often called a meat bag as it was used to carry dry meat to eat while travelling and working on the land.  It was made by Prisque Winlatto for her son, Vital Thomas, when he returned home to the Behchokǫ̀ area from residential school in Fort Resolution about 1916-1918.

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. 

Tłįchǫ Traditional Knowledge

Indigenous scholars have suggested that traditional knowledge unifies theory and practice and that it cannot be separated from a way of being and a way of doing. TK as a way of knowing is a method of reasoning that is most appropriate for complexity, as it seeks to make sense of diverse variables. It also purposely integrates subjective ways of knowing such as spirit, values and compassion. This range of descriptions has led some observers to conclude that it is not a proper field of study at all.


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