Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Traditional Knowledge

  • 2011-2016 Délı̨nę Language, Music and Place

    Language, Music and Place in Délįnę, Northwest Territories, Canada develops an interdisciplinary approach to language documentation. As the community of Delįnę makes a transition to self-government, there has been increased interest in stories, song, and concepts of place in order to better understand what these reveal about self-government, or, more particularly, what is at the core of being a Dene (person). Governance thus is one focal point of this research. Complementing this, the project involves the development of an indigenous research methodology with respect to language research. More particularly, the research explores variation, change and continuity in language, stories, song, and concepts of place as they relate to governance and land stewardship. The approach involves documentation with three groups of families from distinct traditional land use areas across generations, including archival and new materials, as well as dialogue with relatives from neighbouring communities with distinct dialects in order to understand the role of place of origin in variability.

    Nicole Beaudry is leading development of a book based on her research on Dene songs. Jane Modeste is prioritizing production of books based on transcribed oral texts.

    Team Members


    University of Cologne

    Total Budget

    $7, 409

    Research Summary

    pdf Learning about Glottal in Délı̨nę got’ı̨nę Kedǝ and Oromo Language (869 KB) s

  • 2012-2016 Caribou Populations Study

    The main goal of the caribou research project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the identities and relationships among caribou populations and Dene people in the Sahtú region in order to inform and prioritize management efforts. The project will bring together traditional knowledge and non-invasive population genetics to organize and understand the biological diversity of caribou and to develop an approach to caribou research that balances and accommodates aboriginal and scientific ways of knowing.


    Caribou occupy a central place in the livelihoods and identities of Aboriginal people. Some caribou groups are more closely related to each other than others. Understanding the differences between caribou herds and populations is a question of interest to managers, ecologists, and First Nation hunters. For example, because caribou populations are often identified for management purposes it is important to understand if caribou from one area ever travel to different places and mate with other groups of caribou. In the Sahtú Region, caribou are given different names if they live in the mountains, or the boreal forests, or in the tundra. We are interested in understanding how groups of caribou are related to other groups of caribou in the Sahtú Region.

    In the fall of 2012, the Sahtú Dene and Métis of the Northwest Territories passed a resolution detailing their resolve to conduct respectful caribou research and management. The caribou genetics study has developed collaborations with the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı and the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę of Fort Good Hope, Norman Wells, Tulı́t’a, Délı̨nę, and Colville Lake to research and monitor caribou populations. It is critically important to develop a collaborative approach to wildlife management that uses multiple sources of data and knowledge systems to help define the boundaries of different groups of caribou. We hope to increase our understanding of caribou in the Sahtú Region with information from hunters and trappers as well as population genetics.

    Population genetics allows scientists to understand how different groups of caribou are related to each other in much the same way humans are related to their extended families. A strong partnership with the communities of the Sahtú Region is essential to the project because the research is dependent on the voluntary collection of caribou fecal pellet (scat or poop) samples by local community members. We are able to take DNA from the outside mucus layer on caribou scat (poop) that is found frozen on the snow. Each caribou has its own individual DNA that is found in the mucus. Once the scat is brought to the lab, technicians take the mucus off a piece of scat from each individual caribou. By running the mucus through machines, we are able to identify each individual caribou and to see how that caribou is related to other caribou. This would be the same thing we could do with a piece of hair from a person to see if a sibling or parent was related to that person.

    Preliminary results from the samples collected during the winter of 2013 can be found on the project website here: http://jeanpolfus.com/

    Team Members


    Sahtu Renewable Resources Board, Environment and Natural Resources - Northwest Territories, Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program - Northwest Territories, University of Manitoba, Environmental Studies Research Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Polar Continental Shelf Program of Natural Resources Canada 


    2014-2015 Budget



  • 2014-2015 Spatial State of Knowledge

    In early 2014, the SRRB started working on a Spatial State of Knowledge Project to find, and catalogue, maps and computerized mapping files of the Sahtú Settlement Region.

    The types of map information that is being sought includes:

    1. Traditional ecological knowledge information;
    2. Wildlife information;
    3. Habitat information.

    Many different maps and computer mapping files from research projects through the years are stored in various places – Government, Universities, offices across the Sahtú Settlement Region, and in other places as well. These maps include information on such topic as forests, caribou migration, moose ranges, and traditional place names. A lot of these maps have already been identified and catalogued, and more will be added to the catalogue during 2014-2015. The next steps will be to have the catalogue, and possibly some of the publicly- available mapping files, available on the SRRB website for community/regional organizations and researchers to use.

    Team Members


    Environmental Studies Research Fund, Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR, NWT)

    Total Budget



    ari logo circular

    Special thanks to the staff at the Aurora Research Institute who provide valuable GIS support.



  • 2014-2015 Wolverine Traditional Knowledge Study

     This project will gather and present Sahtú Dene and Métis traditional knowledge about the Species At Risk Act (SARA)-listed wolverine (western population, special concern) and its habitat. The project will include interviews and outreach in all five Sahtú communities (Tulita, Délı̨nę, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, and Norman Wells). Areas of increased shale oil prospecting south of the Mackenzie River will be of particular importance as habitat fragmentation and habitat alienation are of great concern in these areas. Wolverine threats which may be better understood include biological factors (low rate of increase and low density), harvest and predator control programs (wolf culling), and habitat threats (loss, alienation, fragmentation).

    A draft report will serve as a spring-board for the education/outreach activities with students and Elders working together to spread awareness about wolverine as a species at risk component in Phase 2. Project outcomes will include a TK report on wolverine available for SAR processes, and an increased awareness of both wolverine and about the importance of species at risk processes in the NWT. This project therefore meets the expected result of helping to gather and conserve ATK and strengthening capacity in Aboriginal communities for SARA implementation.

    Team Members


     Aboriginal Fund for Species At Risk (AFSAR)

    Total Budget


     Research Licenses

     NWT Scientifc Research License - Aurora Research Institute 

  • 2014-2018 Délı̨nę Song Book

    The Délı̨nę Song book is about the singing, drumming, and playing traditions of the Sahtúot'ine who nowadays live in Délı̨nę, a community on the shore of Sahtú (Great Bear Lake) in the Canadian Northwest Territories. There are many reasons such a book can be of interest, but the main objective here is to offer to the people of Délı̨nę one path into their historical past, the song path. The materials brought together here come mainly from a recording collection I made between 1988 and 1992 (also in 2012, 2014, and 2015) with many Elders who not only talked to me, but also sang a good number of songs. Thus this book-with-audio should reflect those Elders' talking and singing voices, and much of the knowledge and wisdom they wished to transmit to the future generations. Already in 1988, many of them told me that they thought these recordings were useful for exactly that purpose. They are still saying it today.

    For example Alfred Taniton who was talking one day about the old Dene ways of playing finished his explanation by saying what he thought of this book-with-audio project:

    "Now it's not like that, so our games from long time ago, and all that Elders did on the land, we don't talk to them about it now. At school they do what they have to do, so now our children start to think differently. But if we make a good book for them, and they see it, they will agree. They will think: "That's why we had Elders with us." So when she's asking questions about this, she is doing the right thing. Whatever we know, we should tell her. It must be good." (Alfred Taniton 2015 ACQ 3345-0061)

    The idea was to give back to Délı̨nę the benefits of a research project that started so long ago in a way that would be immediately useful. So, from the many hours of recording featuring 19 Délı̨nę Elders, some 125 audio excerpts were chosen to illustrate the different topics: ets'ulah, ı́lıwáh, edzi, náogeye, ǝghǝle, naowhenáreɂę, godı, and a few other things such as a discussion of Dene singing styles. Each topic presented will be accompanied by a specific Dene-English terminology. Approximately 100 audio excerpts were transcribed into Dene by Alina Takazo, including song texts when possible. Also translated into English, the texts are complemented with song notations (approx 150). Some drawings by Dennis Kenny as well as a number of photographs will also be included.

    Music Notes

    WHY WRITE A BOOK ABOUT SONGS? Why not just hear the songs themselves on an audio document? Because I strongly believe that songs are a powerful vehicle for any people's traditions, although their meaning is not always obvious at first hearing, even for those of the same culture. Most Dene singers tell the story of their song, and explain how it is meaningful to them. It is so important that young people hear their elders' words about the songs and the traditional Dene lifestyle. That is why the book is called SONGS and STORIES from Délı̨nę. Together, these songs and stories open the door to Délı̨nę's historical past, to the profound human values inherent to Dene culture, to the relationships and behaviours of groups and individuals, to people's spiritual lives, to their sense of humour, and to their capacity for rejoicing. Yes, all of that can be learned through song. But more importantly even, the songs enhance the importance of learning to 'listen' (as opposed to simply hearing) - not only with one's ears, but also with one's heart and intelligence.  Listening leads to learning, which means that one is in possession of necessary tools for a long and harmonious life.

    Team Members


    Core Team

    Délı̨nę Elders

    • Marı́zó (Julia Baptiste)
    • Lúza (Louisa Baton)
    • Chı̨ą (Paul Baton)
    • Laı́za (Eliza Blondin)
    • Magırı́ (Margaret Kenny)
    • Behcho (George Kodakin)
    • Béla (Bella Modeste)
    • Cıcı́l (Cecile Modeste)
    • Ǫ́ɂk'aeh (Leon Modeste)
    • Tehk'áotah (Joe Naedzo)
    • Cháhlıht'ǫ́ą (Charlie Neyelle)
    • Jenéo  or enǫ́ǫ Jane (Jane Neyelle)
    • Janı́ (John Neyelle)
    • Ts'ǫ́gǫné (Jane Quitte)
    • Wılém (William Sewi)
    • Alıferé (Alfred Taniton)
    • Lue (Louie Taniton)
    • Ádelı̨́  (Adeline Vital)
    • Doraghı̨́ą (Dora Vital)

    Community Collaborators

    • Albertine Baton
    • Stella Baton-Modeste
    • Walter Bayha
    • Augustine Kenny
    • Sarah Kodakin-Masazumi and Alfred Masazumi.
    • Jane Modeste
    • Fibbie Tatti
    • Mary-Rose Yukon


    • Prince of Wales Archives (who contributed audio technician Norman Glowach time)
    • SRRB as administrator of project funds


    • 1988-1992, Social Sciences and Humanities Research in Canada (SSHRC)
    • 2012-2014 Volkswagen Foundation
    • 2014-2018 NWT Department of Education, Culture, and Employment (ECE)

    Funding for the book project

    2014-2018, from ECE, approximately $50,000.

  • 2014-ongoing Cross-Cultural Research Camp

    This project is part of the Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting program funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund. The Camp was held on July 12-19, 2014 at Stewart Lake in the Tulı́t'a District, and provided an exciting and rare opportunity for a facilitated on-the-land exchange between Dene/Métis knowledge holders and scientists.

    The Camp provided a forum for participants to learn about each other’s research questions and ways of learning about and monitoring wildlife, habitat, harvesting and water. The focal points of activities at the camp will be the two Environmental Studies Research Fund (ESRF) programs this year – Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting, and Surface Water and Groundwater research. The emphasis will be on cross-cultural learning and relationship building, as well as collection of data in an area near the shale oil play.

    Stewart Lake is where some Shúhtagot’ı̨nę people of Tulít’a have a camp. It has also been the site of a forestry camp in the past. It has an airstrip, good solid ground and cleared areas for camping. There is good fishing in the lake (particularly trout and whitefish) as well as outflow and inflow streams that could be used for CABIN water monitoring. Tǫdzı (boreal woodland caribou) are known to be present in the area. Over the past several decades there has been oil and gas exploration in the vicinity of Stewart Lake; there are three Significant Discovery licenses nearby; and over the past few years new leases have been awarded in the area for shale oil exploration. Thus, it is an important area for gathering baseline information. Stewart Lake itself is a Conservation Zone under the 2013 Sahtu Land Use Plan, but there is only a 1 km buffer around the lake.

    The three key objectives of the Camp were: 1. Provide an opportunity for learning about traditional knowledge and scientific ways of knowing related to environmental research and monitoring in the shale oil play. 2. Contribute to data collection in an area of the Central Mackenzie Valley near potential hydrocarbon exploration and development. 3. Further understanding of research and monitoring needs in the region.

    Watch the photo-voice video!

    Featuring photos and voices of Sahtú Dene and Métis and scientists who lived, worked, learned and played together for a week in July, this video highlights the great things that are possible when people share knowledge and skills across cultures.

    Workshop Participants

    Environmental monitors-in-training

    • John Tobac – Fort Good Hope
    • Louise Yukon – Norman Wells
    • Charles Oudzi – Colville Lake
    • Joanne Krutko – Tulít’a
    • Peter Silastiak, Jr. – Tulít’a
    • Kristen Yakelaya – Tulít’a

    Elders, harvesters and community members

    • Theresa Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • David Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • Michael Etchinelle – Tulít’a
    • Gilbert Turo – Youth, Fort Good Hope
    • Archie Erigaktuk – Youth, Tulít’a

    Sahtú Environmental Research and Monitoring Forum members

    • Michael Neyelle – Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı
    • Jimmy Dillon – Délı̨nę

    Scientists / researchers

    • Krista Chin – Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (GNWT)
    • Morag McPherson – Fisheries and Oceans
    • Robin Bourke – Golder & Associates
    • Stephanie Behrens – GNWT-ENR Sahtú Region
    • Ken Caine – University of Alberta
    • James Hodson – GNWT-ENR Wildlife
    • Heather Sayine-Crawford – GNWT-ENR Sahtú Region
    • Lisa Smith – GNWT-ENR Forestry
    • Dave Polster – contractor for GNWT-ENR Forestry
    • Samuel Haché – Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada)

    Camp staff

    • Leon Andrew – Dene language specialist, interpreter, co-facilitator
    • Deborah Simmons – co-facilitator
    • Shauna Morgan – co-facilitator
    • William Horassi – camp attendant
    • Valerie Desjarlais – cook
    • Jeanie Bavard – cook


    Environmental Studies Research Fund



    Research Summary

    pdf At Home on the Land (343 KB)

  • 2014-ongoing Spatial Data Management

     The objective of this work is to identify, purchase, and operationalize (including customization and any required educational and engagement components) a community-controlled database system to archive and link traditional knowledge materials in various formats (GIS, audio, text, photos, video) as basis for using traditional knowledge materials in research and decision-making.

    This project will assess the current data-management needs, and existing and future capacity of appropriate community and regional decision-makers (Renewable Resource Councils and the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, among others). This includes: engagement with future users of the proposed data management vehicle; identifying possible software choices and configurations; showcasing examples of select software choices with end users, selection and purchase of candidate software; customization and web-enabling; data entry or migration; training and follow-up.

    Team Members


     Environmental Studies Research Fund(ESRF)

    Total Budget


  • 2014-ongoing Spatial Traditional Knowledge Compilation

    This project is part of the Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting program funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund. The objective of this work is to address a gap identified in early work on the Spatial State of Knowledge project: the accessibility of previously recorded harvester knowledge to the community and regional organizations mandated to manage resources in the Sahtú Settlement Region.  This includes key place names, ecological knowledge, and land use projects and datasets which define the harvesting landscape. These projects, the existence of which may or may not be common knowledge among decision-making organizations, include documentation of harvester knowledge, knowledge of changes in habitat (both natural and due to earlier exploration and development activities in the study area), and other socio-ecologic topics. Often, the work has been topical, centering on place names, family biographies, characterizing caribou populations and biodiversity, and describing long term changes in ecology and harvesting practices.

    As traditionally named places in Dene languages are the framework upon which other types of spatially-oriented, ecological, and traditional use information are structured, this project will bring together little known and recently re-discovered place names datasets, along with more recent place names work.  The names will be assessed through working with linguist(s), and verified with knowledgeable Elders and land-users.  Gaps in existing names and required changes will be assessed through engagement. 

    As place names are extremely important as a baseline ecological dataset, and were identified as a gap in early Spatial State of Knowledge work, this project will address this gap and directly increase the available socio-ecological information to regional and community organizations for assessing development.

    Team Members


    Environmental Studies Research Fund, Environment and Natural Resources - GNWT

    Total Budget


  • 2015 Literature Review and Interviews: Indigenous Ways of Knowing Boreal Caribou Populations

    This project was conducted for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board, SRRB). It included a literature review and a series of interviews with experienced researchers and knowledge holders about Indigenous ways of knowing and monitoring boreal caribou.  Boreal caribou are listed as threatened in Canada and the Northwest Territories (NWT), and wildlife management organizations in the NWT are mandated to monitor population abundance and trends in order to make management planning decisions.

     Boreal caribou are an important animal for First Nations and Métis communities in almost all regions of the NWT.  Hunters and Elders have comprehensive Traditional Knowledge about past and current caribou populations, movements, health, habitat, and other topics.  In many Indigenous societies, this type of information is traditionally used in adaptive management processes.  Therefore Traditional, community, and Indigenous Knowledge can be of value for determining wildlife population abundance and trends, among many other topics, and a range of monitoring programs accommodate Indigenous Peoples or methods to some degree. 

    The resulting report reviews approaches to understanding and developing Indigenous Knowledge and ways of knowing about wildlife populations that could have potential as monitoring methods for boreal caribou populations.  It details theoretical and methodological considerations for ENR, who plan on initiating a monitoring program for boreal caribou with NWT communities, and includes a discussion of limitations and challenges.  Several northern case studies are presented as examples of monitoring projects that are already underway, and a suite of eight potential monitoring measures or ‘indicators’ are introduced, including a consideration of their possible applicability for boreal caribou. While there is an emphasis on Traditional Knowledge systems of the north, literature and models for working with Indigenous ways of knowing from other parts of the world are also included in this review and report where relevant.

    This report builds on the existing literature by proposing methods to develop a monitoring program for boreal caribou population abundance and trends in the NWT.  The authors recommend that ENR initiate a collaborative and iterative approach to develop regionally and culturally-appropriate monitoring approaches with interested communities across the NWT.  

    The ideas presented in this report formed the basis for further work being done to develop a national monitoring strategy for boreal woodland caribou that would be inclusive of Indigenous ways of knowing.  The National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC) is a forum for knowledge sharing, generation, and mobilization. Members of the NBCKC represent provincial and territorial governments, Wildlife Management Boards, Indigenous Peoples and communities, industry, environmental non-governmental organizations, and academic researchers.  Several representatives who are part of the NBCKC are also members of a parallel body known as the Indigenous Knowledge Circle (IKC). The IKC advocates for the respectful inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge, supports the transition towards Indigenous-led management to support the recovery of caribou, and, provides opportunities for learning about what is working and not working in Indigenous contexts.  In 2020 the IKC focused their efforts on further developing some of the ideas presented in the 2015 Indigenous Ways of Knowing Boreal Caribou Populations report and initiated the construction of a database of Indigenous-led caribou projects across Canada as one of a series of ‘tools’ to be added to a national ‘Caribou Monitoring Toolbox’. More on the work of the NBCKC and the IKC can be found at: https://www.cclmportal.ca/organization/national-boreal-caribou-knowledge-consortium.

    Team Members


    Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) of the Government of the Northwest Territories


      pdf Literature Review and Interviews: Indigenous Ways of Knowing Boreal Caribou Populations (1.12 MB)

  • 2017-2022 Tracking Changes

    Tracking Change… is a new research initiative funded by the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada and led by the University of Alberta, the Traditional Knowledge Steering Committee of the Mackenzie River Basin Board, the Government of the Northwest Territories and many other valued partner organizations. Over six years (2015-2022), the project will fund local and traditional knowledge research activities in the Mackenzie River basin and sister projects in the Lower Amazon and Lower Mekong River Basins, with the long term goal of strengthening the voices of subsistence fishers and Indigenous communities in the governance of major fresh water ecosystems. The project developed in recognition that river systems are important social, economic, cultural and ecological places that contribute to the well-being of communities in diverse ways. River peoples, particularly Indigenous peoples who have well developed fishing livelihoods can offer extremely valuable insights about long term (historic and current) patterns of social and ecological change and the interconnections between the health and dynamics of these river systems and that of river communities. Although based on oral traditions, this system of observation or “tracking change” is much like monitoring.   Like those who live on Canada’s east and west coasts, the ability of Indigenous communities in the Mackenzie River Basin to maintain fishing as a livelihood practice is of social, economic and cultural importance to all of Canada; if this river system is not healthy, how can we be?

    tracking images

    Fishers have been tracking change in the same places, in the same ways, using the same signs & signals for many generations. Such traditional knowledge is key to our understanding of many kinds of issues resulting from resource development, climate change and other land uses. This tracking of change is not simply a technical process; people watch, listen, learn and communicate about change because they care about the health of the land and the health of their communities.

    tracking images 2

    For more information on the project, please visit http://www.trackingchange.ca/

    Team Members


    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, led by the University of Alberta, the Mackenzie River Basin Board, and the Government of the Northwest Territories in collaboration with many other valued Aboriginal organization partners and universities.


      pdf Literature Review – Local and Traditional Knowledge in the Great Bear Lake Watershed, December 2016. (4.01 MB)

      pdf Tracking Change Report 2017 (66.73 MB)

      pdf The importance of traditional knowledge for maintaining fishing livelihoods during times of change in the Sahtú Region, 2018. [Newsletter] (1.13 MB)

  • Dene Mapping

    The Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı wants a good idea of what computer-based mapping information exists and how to use it best.  Overall, our goals are:

    Goal 1: to identify all the previously-recorded information on maps.
    We’re asking ourselves: What maps can be found in the RRC offices, that have elders’ and hunters’ information on them?  Are there maps in offices in Yellowknife or elsewhere?  What projects happened recently or long ago, that included recording information on maps?

    Goal 2: to bring this information together
    We’re hoping to bring the maps, or paper or digital copies of them, to the SRRB office.

    Goal 3: to make the information accessible to the communities to see and use.
    We’re planning on creating a web-based map that RRCs can look at, once they enter a password to protect the special information.

    Goal 4: to save the original research maps from decay.
    In some cases, the maps are old and ripped and need to be cared for by a professional who will carefully preserve them for future generations.

    There are two specific projects that are underway now to further these goals.

    The first project, Dene Mapping Project Repatriation and Analysis: Understanding valued places at the intersection of caribou ecology and harvesting, includes work with the maps and computer files from the Dene Mapping Project, undertaken by the Dene Nation across the NWT in the 1970s and 1980s.  There is a trails map from this work which is being updated to modern computer standards, and other hunter/trapper wildlife observations on the maps which have remained hidden for decades will be brought to light and made available.  The old maps will be preserved by a specialist known as a conservator, and scanned for use in decision-making and research.  Once the information is updated and available, the SRRB will be working with the communities in meetings and workshops to understand how and when to use this information properly.

    The second project is much broader in scope: Wildlife, Habitat and Harvesting: Responses to Exploration and Development in the Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV): State of Spatial Knowledge Component.  Overall, this project is focussed on aboriginal harvester responses to oil and gas exploration and development from traditional knowledge and scientific perspectives.  For the spatial state of knowledge component, the project’s goals are to identify and make accessible all the maps – computer and paper – that people have recorded information on and make sure that they remain confidential but useful for communities as appropriate. 

    Through these and other projects, we are weaving together the information provided so generously over the years by many knowledgeable hunters, trappers, and other land-users, and hope that their knowledge and memories will last long into the future through the power of computerized mapping technology!

    Team Members


    Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (NWT CIMP), SRRB Wildlife Fund, Education, Culture and Employment(ECE NWT) 

    Total Budget


  • Harvest Study Completion

    What is the Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study?

    The Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study or Sahtú Harvest Study (SHS) was a survey of Sahtú Dene and Métis hunters, trappers, and fishers that took place between 1998 and 2005 in all communities of the Sahtú Settlement Area (SSA). The Study recorded the number and location of wildlife harvested in the SSA.

    Why was the Study done?

    The SHS was a requirement of the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (SDMCLCA 1993). The objective of the Study was to estimate the total number of animals, fish, and birds harvested by Sahtú Dene and Métis for a period of five years. Based on the Sahtú Land Claim Terms of Reference (Sahtú Settlement Area Harvest Study, Schedule 1 to Chapter 13, 1993), estimates of harvested wildlife are intended for two main purposes:

    • To provide information on harvesting necessary for the effective management of fish and wildlife in this region by Sahtú Renewable Resources Board and Government, and
    • To determine the Minimum Needs Level of Sahtú Dene and Métis so that their harvesting traditions can be protected.

    How was the Study Done?

    The Study was coordinated by the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board in cooperation with Renewable Resources Councils (RRC) in Tulı́t’a, Norman Wells, Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake, and Délı̨nę. All Sahtú Dene and Métis harvesters who were at least 16 years old were asked to participate. Adult non-beneficiaries who harvested for Sahtú Dene-Métis families were also included. Harvesters were surveyed by Community Interviewers on a monthly basis between 1998 and 2003, then four times a year for two more years (2004-2005).

    What are the findings?

    Data resulting from the Study have been available for resource management and land use planning in a raw form since 2005. However, a 2012/13 assessment indicated that the Study was incomplete in that final results and analysis had not been calculated. In 2014, resources were found to do an important statistical analysis on the harvest totals, including measures of how reliable the results are. The proportional projection method was used to extend the Study results to the entire population of beneficiaries so that total estimated harvests and Minimum Needs Levels could be calculated. No analysis of locations or mapped data was done, nor was there any analysis of the age class and gender data that resulted from the Study. 

    Harvest Study 2

    Example map of results from the Sahtú Harvest Study. This map shows the locations of moose harvests in the Sahtú Settlement Area as reported to the study between 1998 and 2005. Harvest locations were recorded on 10 by 10 km grids. Here, each grid has been coloured to indicate the numbers of harvests. This map is based on draft numbers, and does not represent the total estimated harvest of Sahtú Dene and Métis. The information on this map is confidential; do not copy or distribute. Contact the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board for conditions of use.

    A draft report of the Study results has been prepared. This report includes a detailed description of the survey and data analysis methods, as well as a series of tables presenting the analyzed data. For each community, there are tables of harvester response rates, recall periods, and total estimated harvests (by month, by year, and as five or seven year means). These results are also presented for the Sahtú Settlement Area as a whole (data combined for all communities). The number of harvesters harvesting each species is also reported for the whole SSA, but not by individual community.

    What’s next?

    In 2015/16 we initiated a series of workshops that provide an opportunity for community members to review the results from the Study and provide feedback on the Study and the data. The workshops are an important way of verifying and enriching the information collected by the survey and analyzed by the statisticians, and provide a meaningful local context and interpretation of the results. To date, workshops have been conducted in Délı̨nę Tulı́t’a and Rádelı̨kǫ́ (Fort Good Hope) and findings summarized and provided to the local RRCs. We are working to schedule similar workshops in Colville and Norman Wells in the near future.

    With increasing levels of development in the Sahtú, the past Harvest Study can be seen as having established an important baseline, or ‘best estimate’ of what harvesting levels were like at the time it was conducted. However, because the survey stopped collecting information in 2005, there is a concern that the numbers are now becoming out of date and may not be a good indication of harvesting levels or patterns today. As a result, workshop participants are also being asked to discuss ideas for future harvest studies. The workshops will be a chance for people to talk about what they think worked well in the past harvest study, what didn’t work so well, what kind of information should be collected, and how a future study could be improved.

    Team Members


      pdf Final Report of the Sahtú Harvest Study, 2021 (4.19 MB)

      pdf Summary of the Sahtú Harvest Study Final Report  2021 (263 KB)


    Resources and Sustainable Development in the Artic (ReSDA), SRRB Wildlife Fund

    Total Budget


  • Sahtú Traditional Knowledge Guidelines Working Group

    Traditional Knowledge Research Guidelines will be developed for the Sahtú Regions that are based on community experiences and perspectives, and industry and communities requests to have guidelines that identify best practices in TK research in the Sahtú Region in place as soon as possible. The guidelines will assist with understanding, and will be prepared in a way that is accessible for communities and at the same time useful for visiting researchers.

    The project objectives are:

    1. To ensure community researchers assist with the content of the TK research guidelines.
    2. To discuss, verify and establish consensus with the Sahtú ERM Forum on the TK research guidelines.

    Team Members


    Wildlife Fund - Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı, AANDC(Aboriginal Affairs and Nothern Development Canada)

    Total Budget