Early Economic and Social Systems
Archaeological evidence suggests that the Slavey region has been inhabited from at least 3000 BC (see PREHISTORY). During the late precontact period, the Slavey economy was based on the harvesting of fish, small game, moose, caribou and berries. In winter the Slavey camped in groups or local bands of some 10-30 kin-related individuals. In summer these groups came together briefly near the shores of a major lake to form a regional BAND of perhaps 200 persons.
Initial European contact occurred with Alexander MACKENZIE'S expedition in 1789. Soon after, trading posts were established throughout the area. After 1821 the Hudson's Bay Co made Fort Simpson its major terminus for the Mackenzie region and in 1858 Anglican and Roman Catholic missions were established. In 1899, the Slavey, Crees and Athapaskans (Dené) including Chipewyan, Beavers, Slaveys, Dogribs and Yellowknives negotiated the first of the northern treaties, Treaty 8. Slavey in Alberta, BC and some parts of the Northwest Territories were incorporated into Treaty No 8 between 1899 and 1911, those in the rest of the NWT into Treaty No 11 in 1921-22 (see INDIAN TREATIES). Despite the influx of many non-Dene, evidence indicates that the Slavey, between contact and the end of the Second World War still lived for most of the year in small, kin-based communities, harvested traditional foods, spoke their own languages and raised children in the manner of their parents.
In 1920 and in 1937 the Slaveys, Dogribs, Chipewyans, and Yellowknives boycotted the treaty days and refused federal funds to protest the strict game law regulations that were imposed in violation of treaty promises.
Author MICHAEL I. ASCH
J. Helm, ed, Handbook of North American Indians, vol 6: Subarctic (1981) and The Lynx People: The Dynamics of a Northern Athapaskan Band (1961); J.J. Honigmann, Ethnography and Acculturation of the Fort Nelson Slave (1946).
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Lessons from the Land: Idaa Trail
Take a virtual tour along the Idaa Trail, a traditional canoe route of the Tåîchô (Dogrib) people in the Northwest Territories. Click on the names along the trail to learn about the history of each site. See the teachers' guide and other sections of the extensive Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre website for more information.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Languages of Canada
A comprehensive online database of languages currently in use in Canada. Also provides details about extinct languages. Check out the "language maps" for more information. Based on "Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition." From SIL International, a US website.
Tåîchô First Nation
An extensive website devoted to the Tåîchô First Nation, formerly the Dogrib First Nation. Features information about their culture, government, language, organizations, and business enterprises. Offers an illustrated history, a map of their traditional use area, an image of the Tåîchô flag, a gallery of work produced by community artists and craftspeople, and much more.
Emile Petitot, Arctic Explorer and Missionary
A brief synopsis of the film "Emile Petitot, Arctic Explorer and Missionary." From the website for Shenandoah Films in the US.