Tulita

Tulita

Tulít’a – “Where the waters meet”

Population: 562

Hugging the broad Mackenzie where it’s met by the clear-running Great Bear River, this little town, long occupied by the Mountain Dene, got its start as a formal settlement with the establishment of a trading post in 1869. It enjoys a dramatic setting: The Mackenzie Mountains rise across the river, while just north of town looms distinctive Bear Rock, famous in Dene lore. Access is by air and, in winter, by ice-road from Wrigley.

Location: 64°54′ N, 125°35′ W
Elevation: 101 metres
Population: 478
Traditional name: “Tulít’a” – “Where the waters meet”
Former name: Fort Norman (changed in 1996)
Record high/low: 35.0°C / -54.4°C
Setting: At the confluence of the Mackenzie and Bear rivers, on rolling, forested terrain facing west toward the Mackenzie Mountains
Languages: North Slavey, English
Ethnicities: Dene (Shita Got’ine, or Mountain Dene), Métis, non-Aboriginal
Getting here: By air from Norman Wells, or by winter road north from Wrigley
Founded in: For centuries, this area was used by the Sahtu Dene people. In 1869, the Hudson Bay Company’s Nichol Taylor moved his fur-trading post here from Great Bear Lake. In the 1920s the area experienced a staking rush following the discovery of oil downstream at what is now Norman Wells  
Claim to fame: Legendary comedian Leslie Nielsen and his brother, Canadian deputy prime minister Erik Nielsen, spent part of their childhood here while their father was stationed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Visit for: The annual Traditional Handgames Tournament (early September)
Best day trip: Across the Bear River to Bear Rock, or Kwetįnįʔah, renowned in Dene lore as the place where Yamoria, the great law-giver, killed three giant beavers and stretched their hides on the mountainside 
Best expedition: Into nearby Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve, headquartered in Tulita 
Notable locals: Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Canada’s first Aboriginal female Member of Parliament; Frank Andrew, local chief and political leader; Paul Andrew, radio and television journalist
 

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