Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation

The Dene-speaking Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation signed an adhesion to Treaty 8 in July 1899 as part of Maurice Piche’s band. They hunted, fished, and trapped in order to live—as they continue to this day. The Chipewyan word “Denesuline” translates as “people of the barrens”; they are also referred to as “ Ethen-eldeli ” or “caribou-eaters.” In the 1930s, government officials began discussing the possibility of setting aside reserves for the Denesuline. By 1944 the band was anxious to have a reserve set aside in northeastern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, but it was not until January 11, 1960, that the Department of Indian Affairs acknowledged an outstanding treaty land entitlement for the band and allowed land selections to be made. Economic development for this community includes commercial fishing, trapping, and mining. The infrastructure comprises an airstrip, band office complex, school and teacherage, fisherman’s cold storage plant, fire hall, senior citizen centre, arena, nursing station and nursing staff residency, day care, and various community maintenance facilities. The main community area of the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation Reserve is located on the northeast side of Lake Athabasca. The band has a total land base of 36,812 ha; there are a total of 1,576 band members, with 869 people residing on reserve.

Christian Thompson