Friday, November 24, 2006

Canadian Aboriginal Tribe Wants National Park Created

Thirty years ago, the Canadian aboriginal tribe Dene community of Lutsel K'ein located in the Northwest Territories of Canada turned down a federal proposal to create a national park on their lands. The Dene feared it would interfere with their hunting rights. The aboriginal tribe now views Parks Canada as an ally and is working with the Canadian federal government to create new national park. The proposed park is 25,000 to 38,000 square kilometres and includes the most pristine part of Great Slave Lake, the deepest lake in North America. It is also home to moose, grizzly, black bears and caribou, the Dene's main food source. The Dene are hoping the national park will stop the region's mining claims from disturbing the caribou.

"We've noticed that the caribou are much skinnier. They're not coming around as much as they used to," said James Marlowe of the Lutsel K'e Dene. "And the elders say the mines are polluting the area through emissions from their oil stoves, the noise, the dust."

The Canadian aboriginal tribe wants to call the new park ThaydeneNene National Park, which means "land of the ancestors." "For thousands of years our grandmothers and grandfathers lived off the land and the land is very much a part of our people, and it's very important to protect that," said Sayese Catholique.

See Free Spirit Gallery for unique Canadian Aboriginal Art.

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