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The largest Dene community in the Northwest Territories (with a population of about 2,000) and headquarters of the Tlicho Government, Behchokǫ̀ is a warm and welcoming location that’s situated at the point where Great Slave Lake's North Arm connects with Marian Lake.
It’s a vibrant community that regularly hosts events, meetings, handgame tournaments and other festivities that draw in travellers from across the NWT. Here you'll find idyllic creeks and rivers from which to launch memorable canoe trips, peaceful campgrounds at the incredible North Arm Territorial Park where you can have a picnic or spend an evening watching the Aurora, and one of the best beaches in the entire North.
Travellers visiting Behchokǫ̀ should make sure to view the exquisite fine arts and crafts on display – and available for sale – in the Tłıc̨hǫ government office storefront. Beaded jackets, mitts, paintings, and other beautiful objects all made by local families are available at the shop, and can be purchased online, too.
Behchokǫ̀ was formerly known as Rae-Edzo, and as might be guessed by that name it’s actually composed of two communities: Rae, which was the site of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post named after the Scottish explorer John Rae; and Edzo, a residential community named in honour of a great Tłıc̨hǫ leader who arranged peace between the Tłıc̨hǫ and the Yellowknives Dene.
The community’s name was officially changed under the historic Tłı̨chǫ land-claim agreement in 2005, although it has always been known as and referred to as Behchokǫ̀ (meaning “Big Knife”) in the Tłı̨chǫ language. The Tłı̨chǫ agreement was the first comprehensive land claim and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories. It provides Tłı̨chǫ citizens with rights and benefits to land, resources and self-government. The agreement’s signing in 2003, right here in this North Slave community, is a proud part of Behchokǫ̀’s history.
Travellers can easily reach Behchokǫ̀ all year-round by road, as it’s only about an hour’s drive northwest of Yellowknife. There are also winter roads connecting Behchokǫ̀ to other neighbouring Tłı̨chǫ communities, and a small airstrip for chartered planes.