Introduction to the Mackenzie River Region
These lesson plans are deeply connected to the land, peoples, and knowledges of the Mackenzie River Basin, and they are designed for youth in this region.
As an overview, the river is known by many names to local communities, such as Dehcho in Slavey, Nagwichoonjik in Gwich’in, and Kuukpak in Inuvialuktun. The Basin stretches across large parts of western Canada and is home to more than 300,000 people, 10% of whom are First Nations, Métis and Inuvialuit (MRBB 2003; GNWT 2010).
Click here to view a map of the region and learn more about the lands, waterways, and communities connected via the Mackenzie.
To teachers who are new to the Mackenzie River region or who are unfamiliar with the various Indigenous peoples who live throughout the area: welcome! We invite you to familiarize yourself not only with Indigenous knowledge and science but also the cultures, languages, and peoples of the community where you live. It is a good idea to make the most of publications and resources, such as those available on this page. But we also recommend you connect with your community, spend time on the land, and get familiar with your school’s protocols on working with Elders and community members.
Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training videos are available through the NWT: https://www.fin.gov.nt.ca/en/services/diversity-and-inclusion/aboriginal-cultural-awareness-training
Below are links to Indigenous governments in the NWT. These web pages provide useful background information on communities and their governance systems. However, this is not a replacement for experiencing and learning first hand the community where you live, including the cultures, practices, and ways of being.
The Akaitcho Territory Government is an Indigenous government representing several Dene groups in the NWT.
The Dehcho First Nations is a Indigenous government representing the people in the Dehcho region.
The Gwich’in Tribal Council is an indigenous organization that represents the different Gwich’in Participants in the Mackenzie-Delta area of the Northwest Territories.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation was established in 1984 and represents the collective Inuvialuit interests in dealings with governments and the world at large.
The Northwest Territory Metis Nation is an Indigenous government composed of Métis originally from the south slave region.
The Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated is a Designated Sahtu Organization (DSO) working on behalf of all the beneficiaries of the Sahtu Land Claim Agreement.
The Tłı̨chǫ Government is an Indigenous government that represents the Dene people who are a part of the Tłı̨chǫ Nation.
The North Slave Metis Alliance represents the Aboriginal rights-bearing Métis people of the Great Slave Lake area. They also have a Facebook page.
The Kátł’odeeche First Nation is a community based government located on a reserve near the community of Hay River on the south shore of the Great Slave Lake.
The Salt River First Nation is a community based government who traditionally used and occupied land in the Slave River area, located in the Fort Smith area. They also have a Facebook page.
The Acho Dene Koe First Nation is a community based government located in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories.