Boreal Forest Hunting Traditions In The Northwest Territories

James Marlowe is a Dene hunter and guide from the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, a remote Indigenous community on the east arm of Great Slave Lake in Canada’s boreal forest. The lifestyle of the Dene is experiencing some changes, and so is the forest landscape, as demand for the area’s rich natural resources expands.

“An intact boreal forest is essential for the survival of Dene communities,” says Marlowe.

“When I’m out in the bush, I like the quietness, the sounds of nature, and the beauty and knowing that we’re free.”

“At a young age, I learned my hunting skills by observing elders.”

“It’s healthy to be out there, mentally, physically. And the food you harvest from the land is all natural.”

“I’m teaching the youth how to hunt, fish, and trap. And I think it’s important to keep it up so that they know how to survive out on the land.”

“It’s important to me to protect the land, the water, animals, because we depend on it for our survival.”

“We want the kids to have a future that they see today. In 100 years or so, we want them to live how we live.”

“We want to keep it that way so that they can keep their culture, that we want them to hunt, fish, and trap in the future. And also teach the skills they know, and pass it on to their kids.”

“When people come to visit us, we’re hoping that they come, and we teach them our way of life.”

“We want visitors to go away knowing that there’s indigenous and First Nations people living out here in the bush in the wilderness; that are still practicing their way of life in a clean, pristine area that has no pollution that the ancestors had provided for them. I want them to feel happy knowing that there’s an area that is being protected for as long as the Earth is here….”

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