Tłı̨chǫ Ewò Kǫ̀nı̨hmbàa - The Dogrib Caribou Skin Lodge

At the beginning of the 20th century, hundreds of caribou skin lodges were in use by the Tłı̨chǫ people of Northern Canada. In 1997 the only known example was at a museum in Iowa City. The Caribou Skin Lodge Project began in 1997 when, with the help of anthropologist June Helm and Natural History Museum director George Schrimper, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History returned a 104-year-old Dogrib caribou skin lodge to the Northwest Territories. Purchased from the Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib) trading leader Bear Lake Chief in 1893 by naturalist Frank Russell, the original lodge was carefully stored in Iowa for over a century. 

Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center in association with Northwest Territories Education, Culture and Employment, and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, 1998. Published in conjunction with the exhibition "The Dogrib Caribou Skin Lodge: An Exhibit" shown at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center. 

This was made possible in April 1996, when representatives travelled to Iowa City for the a ceremony to officially accept the lodge on behalf of the Northwest Territories. The ceremony was held on the University of Iowa campus.  

On In September, 1997 a brief ceremony was held at the Princes of Wales Northern Heritage Centre to welcome the lodge back to the Northwest Territories.  Attended by Elders and dignitaries from the Tlicho communities, the event provided an opportunity for many to have their first glimpse of the lodge. 

It was not until June of 1998 the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, in partnership with the Dogrib Nation, opened a 5-month exhibit of the original lodge. Due to its age and fragility, the exhibit was dismantled in October 1998, and the lodge was placed in storage at the Northern Heritage Centre. In order to fulfill community expectations of seeing the lodge on display, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre joined forces with the Dogrib Community Services Board and the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council to develop a project to create two replicas of the original - read Tłı̨chǫ Ekwǫ̀ Nı̨hmbàa Project.


Photos below are of the opening ceremony and celebration of Tłı̨chǫ Ewò Kǫ̀nı̨hmbàa - The Dogrib Caribou Skin Lodge.