Sayisi Dene - Tadoule Lake Re-location

Tadoule Lake Re-location

In 1969, some Duck Lake Dene began discussing the possibility of becoming self-reliant and returning to the ancestral life-style. In 1973, the Duck Lake Dene moved north and set up a new community at Tadoule Lake (pronounced Ta-doo-lee, derived from the Dene ts'eouli, translated as "floating ashes"). The Tadoule Lake settlement is one of the most northern and isolated settlements in Manitoba, reachable only by plane, dog team, snowmobile or canoe. The nearest rail link is back in Churchill, 250 miles away. The settlement is located by the underdeveloped, wild, and rugged Seal River, about 80 km. south of the treeline, and centered within the winter range of the Qaminuriak Caribou Herd (barren-ground caribou). The Sayisi, with a population of around 360 people, have found it difficult, but not impossible, to return to ancestrally traditional hunting and trapping ways. They deal with spousal, drug and alcohol abuse. But by the 1990s, the Duck Lake Dene saw it could succeed in its new environment and changed its legal name from "Churchill, Band of Caribou-eater Chipewyan" to "Sayisi Dene First Nation (Tadoule Lake, Manitoba)".

Ila Bussidor, Chief of the "Sayisi Dene First Nation (Tadoule Lake, Manitoba)", co-authored a 1997 book entitled, Night Spirits, The Story of the Relocation of the Sayisi Dene a chronicle of the band's ordeal from Little Duck Lake to Churchill to Tadoule Lake. Bussidor is currently working on a land claim settlement on behalf of her people, in addition to working with other First Nations on public works and community management projects. On August 2, 2010 Manitoba promised 13,000+ acres of Crown land, aside from any other treaty land entitlement, to compensate for the effects of the relocation. But, she (Ila Bussidor, Chief of the Sayisi Dene) says this book: for my people, the impact of the relocation had the same effect as genocide.

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