The territory of the Dogrib (Tlicho) First Nation is between the Great Bear Lake
and the Great Slave Lake
in the Northwest Territories
. Traditionally, the Dogrib depended heavily on caribou
, hunting the Bathurst caribou herd. They lived in tipi
s covered with caribou skins, which they banked with snow in winter. They are part of a group called the Dene
or the Athabascans
In some circles, the Dogrib are famous for the speed and complexity of their music.
How the Dogrib got their name:
Dogrib elders have told this legend about how the Dogrib people got their name:
A young, unmarried woman of the Yellowknife tribe lived with her two brothers.
One day a handsome stranger came to their house. The brothers said to their sister, "This handsome man has come for
you so you must marry him."
On their wedding night the young woman awoke to the sound of a dog gnawing on a bone. The woman's husband was
no longer at her side.
She jumped up, lit the fire and searched the tent. There was no dog so the woman went back to sleep. But once again
she was awakened by the sound of a dog chewing a bone.
The woman called out to one of her brothers, who threw a hatchet in the direction of the sound. There was a loud cry,
The woman and her brothers quickly lit the fire and found a large black dog lying dead. The husband did not return.
The brothers cast their sister out for sleeping with a creature who was both dog and man. Eventually she gave birth to
She loved these puppies, but was ashamed of them and kept them hidden in a sack.
One day upon returning to camp, she noticed the footprints of children in the hearth. She thought they must be the
footprints of her children, who she believed changed from puppies when they came out of the sack.
The next day, instead of checking her snares as she usually did, she hid behind a bush close to her tent. After she
had left, the six puppies jumped out of the sack and turned into three girls and three boys.
The woman ran toward them but before she could reach them two of the girls and one of the boys jumped back into the
The remaining three children grew up to be big and strong. Her two sons married their sister and produced many
We descended from them and that is why we call ourselves the Dogrib people.
Legend courtesy of the City of Yellowknife Homepage: http://www.nnsl.com/guides/ykguide/copy/dogrib.html