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Virtual Visits

Knowledge Camp

Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two large peninsulas reaching into Great Bear Lake (“Sahtú” in the North Slavey language) just south of the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. Designated a National Historic Site in 1997 and set aside as a protected area in 2008, Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are teaching, healing and spiritual places.

Coming together on Great Bear Lake

A group of women crowd around several wooden tables, grabbing freshly caught lake trout from a blue bin and slicing them open. Each filleted fish is hung in long strips in a makeshift smokehouse. “Does anyone want to try?” Irene Kodakin asks young women gathered around watching. She hands her knife to a volunteer and begins expertly instructing her in the art of cleaning and filleting fish.

Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two large peninsulas on Great Bear Lake just south of the Arctic Circle. Every summer, Délįne residents gather in Saoyú Ɂehdacho NHS to practice traditional skills out on the land and share them with younger community members during the annual Knowledge Camp organized by the Deline Land Corporation in collaboration with Parks Canada. It’s out here that the connections between the land, the water and the people are strongest.

The 5,565 km2 site is cooperatively managed by the Délįnę Land Corporation and the Délįnę Renewable Resources Council, together with Parks Canada. The elders of Délįnę say that the protection of Saoyú and Ɂehdacho is a responsibility given to the Sahtúgot’įnę by their ancestors. The sites feature trails, portages, gravesites and campsites that are landmarks of how this land has been used for generations as people travelled from one place to another in their struggles to survive.