where we live: fort mcpherson

where we live: Fort McPherson

 

A little introduction to Teet'lit Zheh ­– “at the head of the waters”

 
Location:
67°26′ N, 134°53′ W
 
Elevation:
43 metres
 
Population:
816
 
Traditional name:
Teet'lit Zheh – “At the head of the waters”
 
Named for:
A Hudson Bay Company trader, Murdoch McPherson
 
Setting:
On a bluff above the east bank of the Peel River, facing the Richardson Mountains
 
Languages:
Gwich’in, English
 
Ethnicities:
Dene (Teetl'it Gwich'in), non-Aboriginal
 
Getting here:
Via the Dempster Highway from Dawson City, Yukon (eight hours) or Inuvik (two hours)
 
Founded In:
For centuries this was a traditional meeting place for Gwich’in people. In 1849 John Bell, an explorer for the Hudson Bay Company, established a trading post along the lower Peel River, four miles up from where the community of Fort McPherson is now situated
 
Claim to fame:
Was the starting point of the RCMP’s tragic 1910-11 “Lost Patrol,” where four Mounties bound for the Klondike starved and froze in the Richardson Mountains. Their tomb, and a memorial to them, is found in the local graveyard
 
Visit for:
Purchasing locally made backpacks and other high-quality wilderness gear at the Fort McPherson Tent & Canvas shop; attending the Midway Lake Music Festival (early August)
 
Best expedition:
Paddling the spectacular Peel River watershed
 
Notable locals:
Mountie Francis Fitzgerald, who led the tragic Lost Patrol; John Tetlichi, the first Aboriginal member of the Territorial Council; Wally Firth, the first northern Aboriginal Member of Parliament; and Richard Nerysoo, the first Aboriginal Northwest Territories premier
 
More info:
To get the whole story on “the place at the head of the waters,” explore Fort McPherson