Throughout our journey, we’ve been privileged to spend time in First Nations territory, including here in the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. In Dawson City, we visited the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre. Their story of cultural survival and how visionary Chief Isaac led his people through the gold rush invasion is impressive. Karen and I watched a film about their struggles and achievements, enjoyed bannock and saw a display on the 1977 Berger Commission on the Mackenzie Delta Pipeline. The people stood up and spoke out on Indigenous rights and the pipeline, including many youth. The exhibit brought past and current photos of those speakers–one of whom we recognized from meeting him at Turtle Lodge: Stephen Kakfwi. This link is to Canadians for a New Partnership — check them out and consider signing the Declaration. Mashi Cho!
We then dropped into the NWT Visitor’s Centre to ask about the Dempster Highway –conditions posted on door– and Inuvik (pronounced InYOUvik). We talked with Evelyn who is Inuvialuit. To her, the North is the western Arctic. Having read about mountains growing up, she didn’t see them until adulthood and that became her demarcation line between north and south. A delightful and wonderful resource, Evelyn coached us on the Dempster, Inuvik and Tutoyuktuk then showed us her Inuvaliut Amaghook (sunburst parka) with fur trim of wolf and wolverine.
When Karen asked about the speed limit on the Dempster Highway, Evelyn replied: “In some sections, you can go up to 90 kilometres an hour– but why would you?” Her comment resonated with us the entire drive.