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The archival holdings of the Dene Nation are not yet available to researchers (historians, geographers, genealogists, students, etc.) who require information for research or personal use. For the time being, requests for reproductions are not being accepted.




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For more information, contact us at the Dene National Office.





How many treaties have been signed between the Crown and the Dene of the Northwest Territories, and at what locations?



































Two treaties were signed with the Canadian government, Treaty #8 and Treaty #11. These were peace treaties when non-Dene were moving and settling in what was the Northwest Territories — encompassing Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and present day Northwest Territories. Changes were eminent for our Dene homeland as fur traders, explorers, surveyors, and missionaries kept coming to deal with the business of their trade. A treaty party arrived to negotiate Treaty #8 on July 25, 1900 on the south shores of Tutcho (Great Slave Lake) at a place called Fort Resolution, today this community is known as Deninu Kue. In meeting with the Dene, the chiefs understood that Treaty #8 was a document of protection, it would be signed as an agreement for the Dene to continue maintaining occupancy and use of all their traditional lands and waterways, a guarantee of control of traditional homeland.


As time progressed, oil was discovered in 1920, near the community of Tulita, which means “Where Two Rivers Meet” in the Sahtu Dene language; it is located on the south shore of the Bear River. Tulita was formerly called Fort Norman. Oil drilling equipment and workers began drilling for the valuable resource at Norman Wells, named because of its close proximity to Tulita (Fort Norman). As a result of the value of oil, the Crown gave high priority to making treaty with the Dene Sahtu and on July 21, 1921 Treaty #11 was signed in Tulita. A Metis by the name of Ted Trindell who was from Liidli Koe (Fort Simpson) was a witness to the negotiations and signing of Treaty #11, said: “They talked about the land, and the Indians were scared that by taking treaty they would lose all their rights, but the Indians were told they would not. But if they were taking treaty they would still be free to roam and hunt as usual. No interference.”


Today, the Dene and the Crown still do not have a shared understanding of the terms of Treaty # 8 and Treaty #11. However, through negotiations with the Dene within the five regions, they are working to resolve outstaning land, resource and governance issues.






What is the population of the Northwest Territories, particularly for Dene?



















In the Northwest Territories, populations have been growing and shrinking and unstable for many reasons. The demographics seem to change with each season. People have come from many locations, backgrounds and professions.

The current population within Denendeh (Northwest Territories is:


• 48% of the population is Aboriginal
– 28% are Dene
– 11% are Inuit or Inuvialuit
– 9% are Metis
• 52% of the population is non-Aboriginal


The largest population of Dene are in Yellowknife, the capital city of the NWT, numbering 3,420. The Dene come from other smaller communities to live and work in Yellowknife. This population represents more than any other community in Denendeh.




What is it that the Dene groups are negotiating with the federal government?












The negotiations objective are to come to an agreement that will clarify ownership and rights to lands and resources within the five regions in Denendeh (Northwest Territories). They will discuss how these lands, resources and water will be managed and look at the structure, operation, legal status and extent of Dene regional and community governments. They will also include measures to enhance the capacity of each region to participate fully in the economy.


There are three parties involved in the negotiations: regional Dene First Nation groups, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories.





















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