The Tłı̨chǫ Chimney Project was created by the partnership between the Tłı̨chǫ Government, De Beers Canada and the University of British Columbia. The goal of the project was to produce documentation that will assist in the future reconstruction/replication of a traditional chimney by the Tłı̨chǫ people.
In the 1850s when the fur trade eventually reached the Tlicho, trading posts and support buildings were built. These log buildings designs and notches were brought in from the early experiences of building out of logs. These buildings required heat, so local rocks and clay material were used to build fireplaces and chimneys. These were the technologies brought in from further south accompanying the pioneers who went into the hinterland to set up trading posts.
When the Tłı̨chǫ first entered the trading posts, they observed the buildings and the fireplaces and eventually they replicated within their harvesting areas what they saw for their own trading Chiefs. Most of the trading posts log buildings and fireplaces no longer exist except for the Tłı̨chǫ replicas. In other words the design has been kept alive by the Tłı̨chǫ, and these log buildings with the fireplaces still exist on Tłı̨chǫ lands.
These monuments are in danger of eventual collapse and vandalism. The Tłı̨chǫ landscape has preserved a living design that goes back at least 160 years. When it eventually leads to a project to build a replica, it may very well include masonry expertise to facilitate with the community. The era of the stone fireplaces is very deeply imbedded into Tłı̨chǫ memory and history. -John B Zoe