Saoyú and Ɂehdacho Stories

Saoyú-ʔehdacho National Historic Site

Saoyú and Ɂehdacho Stories

The Sahtúgot‘ı̨nę believe that all the land is sacred. The land of the Sahtúgot‘ı̨nę is also alive with stories, which blend the natural with the supernatural worlds. Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are fundamental to the transmission of Sahtúgot‘ı̨nę culture and also provide an opportunity for non-Dene Canadians to better understand the origins of Sahtú-Dene culture, spiritual values, life-style and land use.

Some Elders have argued that it is riskier to pass on stories in writing, since they then become accessible to people who don’t know the land. An oral narrative involves a select audience with a knowledge of the place and people acquired since childhood. Each individual story is a thread in a tapestry of stories that weaves through the community. Floating around as disembodied text, the story becomes a mere fragment, and its meaning may be misunderstood.

Despite the risks, many Elders have decided to ensure that their stories are preserved in written form. We are grateful to them and to their children for their willingness to share these treasures.

Some of the following stories about the site were recorded by Parks Canada in the early 1990s with Délı̨nę Elders and were translated by John Tetso.

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