The Dehcho in the Southwest Region encompasses the majestic Nahanni National Park Reserve, which has been inspiring artists and explorers alike for hundreds of years. Spectacular waterfalls, the mighty Mackenzie River and thick boreal forest surround the region’s communities and are home to a wide variety of wildlife, birds and luscious plant life. The South Slavey speaking Dene are passionate about preserving their culture and traditional ways of life.
Birch trees surround the Fort Liard area of the territory and traditional artists have perfected the technique of gathering and preparing the raw birchbark to make exquisite birchbark baskets. These baskets are intricately decorated with beadwork, moosehair tufting or quillwork in the designs of fruit, flowers and birds. Locally tanned moose or caribou hide are also used to create clothing and footwear, embellished with similar techniques to add colour and unique artistic expression.
There is a multicultural influence that encourages contemporary techniques to blend with traditional arts, musicians to sing from the heart and authors to tell stories of living in this picturesque part of the country. The annual Open Sky Festival held every summer in Fort Simpson demonstrates these diverse talents.
Use our online tool to learn Where to Buy NWT Art in the Dehcho Region.
Or download printable, translated documents (PDFs):