People Facts

Peoples of the Circumpolar Regions: Dene

Located at 62 ° latitude, -115° longitude.

The Dene are the aboriginal people who live at the treeline, or just below the treeline, and within the boreal forest which stretches from Hudson Bay through the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory to the Interior of Alaska, and from central Alberta to the Arctic Ocean. This includes the northernmost parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The word "Dene", when translated, comes from two words, "De" meaning flow and "Ne" meaning Mother Earth. They speak several different languages, all of which belong to the Athapaskan language group.

In the past, they traveled by birch-bark or spruce-bark canoe. Some built mooseskin boats. The Dene still use the rivers as highways, in both winter and summer. They rely on moose, caribou (both woodland and barren ground), black bear, geese, ducks, grouse, ptarmigan, beaver, smaller game and fish.


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