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Sahtu Region

The Sahtu Region is one of the most diverse in its landscape. Located west and north of Great Bear Lake, the Sahtu encompasses all the wonders of the NWT – the boreal forest, barrenlands and mountains, as well as the Mackenzie River and Great Bear Lake. Five communities cover this Sahtu Dene and Metis settled land area, where First Nations peoples still speak North Slavey and traditional ways of life are still practiced and preserved.

Like other Dene communities of the NWT, the Sahtu Dene display great artistic ability and traditionally create sewn items from tanned moose hides including moccasins, mukluks, mitts and baby belts. Artists carefully and beautifully decorate these pieces with beadwork and embroidery, and embellish with locally harvested fur. The distinctive colour palette of beautiful cut glass beads identifies beadwork from this region.

The awe-inspiring landscape, wildlife and stories of the region are also captured through paintings, drawings and woodcarvings as well.

Drumming and dancing is a strong part of the Dene culture. The Tulita Dene Drummers are a vibrant and passionate group of Sahtu Dene drummers, who perform regularly around the territory at National Assemblies, and cultural celebrations and festivals. In 2008, they recorded an album that highlighted the songs of one Shutaogotine Chief Yahts'ule, who received 52 spiritual songs to pass along to the people.

To learn more about where to Buy local art in the Sahtu region click here.

Sahtu Regional Updates

Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) Staff in the Sahtu work hard to support local Artisans.

2014/2015 was another busy year for the Sahtu region, ITI regional staff have provided close to 200 K in grants  to local artists under the SEED program and to date 84 local artists are registered in the NWT Arts Database.

In June 2014, ITI regional staff helped to fund the Norman Wells Historical Society celebrate their 25th Anniversary, which included several arts and crafts displays and many local events.

On July 15th, 2015, regional staff organized Parks Day and local children helped a local artist paint the outside of one of our parks buildings. Later in July, the region helped to fund four artists to participate in the Great Northern Arts Festival (GNAF) in Inuvik, as well as helped to fund five artists to participate in the GNAF Christmas Bazaar.

In the fall of 2015 there was a Birchbark Earring making workshop held in Norman Wells.

In March 2015 there is a Sewing Program scheduled in Tulita.

Regional staff have also been working with ITI HQ’s staff to develop a new Arts and Crafts Display for the Norman Wells Airport.