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Articles by Erica Janes

Erica earned her B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Victoria. An indigenous northerner, she has worked as a naturalist and heritage interpreter and forestry research technician in coastal BC, but chose to return to the boreal forest in 2003. She has dedicated her time to conservation in the NWT with CPAWS since 2005, and spends as much of her time as possible exploring the wild places near Yellowknife with her young family.

A week with the Ni Hat’Ni Dene Rangers


In mid-July, I spent a week with this season’s two Ni Hat’Ni Dene Ranger Crews outside of the community of Lutsel K’e, on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, NWT. Ni Hat’ni Dene translates as “watchers of the land” from Chipewyan, the local Dene language. Each summer, two crews of local Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) members keep watch over the land and water of the East Arm.

Public Opinion Strongly in Favour of Thaidene Nene


CPAWS has been working with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) since early 2011 to help build awareness and support for protecting Thaidene Nene, the Land of the Ancestors. Thaidene Nene is a spectacular northern landscape with numerous ecological and cultural values; a globally-significant carbon sink that once protected, will foster ecological integrity, cultural continuity, and economic sustainability in the core of the LKDFN homeland. Stretching from the shores of the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, and up through the boreal forest and into the tundra, Thaidene Nene is a well-loved and relatively well-visited part of the region.

Lutsel K’e youth learning to guide on the Nahanni River

  • Published on Jan 16 2014 |
  • by Erica Janes |
  • This article is tagged as:

This past summer, Jake Basil and Damien Kailek of Lutsel K’e learned the ropes as river guides on the South Nahanni River with the good folks at Nahanni Wilderness Adventures. Having showed their potential working as escorts for a June school rafting trip on the Nahanni, both were invited to do personalized, on-the-river training with NWA. By the end of the season, they piloted their own raft down the river, and NWA owner David Hibbard was enthusing about both of their performances and potential as river guides. David hopes to welcome them back this coming spring with additional training and guiding opportunities.

Thaidene Nene: what’s in a name?


Thaidene Nene translates from Chipewyan as ‘the Land of the Ancestors’. It’s the name that the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation has chosen for the core of their huge traditional homeland - a place identified a decade ago by the community elders as a proposed protected area. It also includes lands and waters proposed by Parks Canada in 1970 to become “East Arm National Park”. The story of how the name has changed is also the story of how the Lutsel K’e Dene have determinedly charted their own course for more than 40 years.

Thaidene Nene Initiative Winner of Arctic Inspiration Prize


Last night, I attended the inaugural awarding of the Arctic Inspiration Prize at a ceremony in Vancouver. I was thrilled to be representing CPAWS as part of the Thaidene Nene Initiative Team that traveled from across the country to attend this exciting event recognizing excellence in Canada’s North. The Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation and their partners have been awarded a portion of this new prize for their inspirational and innovative work to protect their 35,000 square kilometre traditional homeland and age-old traditions that are deeply connected to it.

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