Essential to living along the De Cho is having a firm grasp on the life skill of fishing; a skill that is passed down from one generation to another.
The people of K’asho Got’ine (Fort Good Hope) harvest fish from the Deh Cho (the Mackenzie River) and pass this knowledge on from generation to generation. Although fish-harvesting techniques have changed throughout colonization and amongst generations, some people still retain important practices that do not separate them from the land. Harvesters like Judy and Michel, the Elders in this video, are one of a few families who still practice land-based harvesting ‘out on the land’ in specific harvesting camps outside the community. One change in harvesting techniques that has become more common is harvesting within the community. With full-time jobs and their children committed to education, it is difficult for those who harvest to go ‘out on the land’ for extended periods of time. Some find it more accessible to set nets close to the community and harvest outside their houses with teepees at their doorstep. Other inevitable changes to traditional harvesting techniques include adapting to non-traditional tools with the help of technology and modern materials. Amidst all of these changes in traditional harvesting practices and techniques, Judy and Michel, the Elder teachers, still emphasize the importance for them to remain each year harvesting fish ‘out on the land,’ hence – “Luge k’e rahtse deh, we live with the fish.”
Special thanks to (in order of appearance):
Wilma Manuel, Participant
Judy Lafferty, Mentor
Michel Lafferty, Mentor
Anna Turo, Participant
As well, special thanks to:
Anne-Marie Jackson, NCCIE Videographer and Contributor
Christopher White, Promethean Heritage and Cultural Services, Video Editor
Andrée Cazabon, Productions Cazabon, Producer
This video and two others in this series are also part of Tracking Change: the Role of Local and Traditional Knowledge in Watershed Governance, a project that includes listening to Indigenous peoples along the Mackenzie, Mekong, and Amazon Rivers to gather information about “long term (historic and current) patterns of social and ecological change and the interconnections between the health and dynamics of these river systems and that of river communities.” (Source)
Please note: The quality of the audio and video in each interview on NCCIE.CA may vary. NCCIE has been a capacity- and skills-building project for students and youth. They have been "learning-through-doing," learning how to arrange and conduct interviews while, at the same time, gaining experience with the technology.