Honouring our Ancestors
Joe was raised by his grandparents on the south and north shore of the Great Slave Lake. Joe is a descendent of the true Yellowknife’s Dene peoples. As a 100% First Nations owned tour company we take great pride in preserving and sharing our Aboriginal culture with you. Joe and North Star believe not just anyone can do cultural tours. Unfortunately there are those out there that will do “culture tours” only to make money, to exploit our customs and traditions for commercial purposes. Cultural tours are a representation of our customs and traditions, they need to be treated with respect. This is the basis of all our Cultural tours.
For hundreds and hundreds of years our Ancestors have made many sacrifices and endured many hardships to keep our culture alive by passing it down from generation to generation. We are proud to offer our cultural tours in manner that honours our Ancestors. When you choose one of our cultural tours or packages you are truly choosing a genuine Aboriginal experience! All of our guides are Aboriginal and all share the same vision as Joe, to conduct our tours with honour and respect. We are happy to share our culture with you, we are happy to share stories about personal on the land experiences, about our language, about our spirituality and more.
As a teenager and a young adult Joe was fortunate enough to call the Deh Cho home. He lived with and was taught more life lessons about the Dene way from his aunt and uncle Jim and Celine Antoine. Joe worked throughout the Deh Cho region in both summer and winter highways, pipeline, seismic and housing jobs. Joe was raised by his grandparents and credits strong family beliefs and Dene values to the way he lives his life. While on the winter trapline as a young child with his grandparents, living in a canvas tent in -40C temperatures, he was taught what it means to be Dene, to be a good person. He was told by his grandparents to…
“Respect the land” this means to always treat the land with respect. To always say a prayer and give thanks when we get food from the land, whether it be a fish in the fishnet or an animal, we must say a prayer. This also means not selling the food we get from the land for money, if someone needs food, then we give it to them, we share with them, this is the Dene way. Respect the land, don’t throw garbage in the water or land, not to waste food when we kill it. Respect the land, don’t cut down a tree for 30 days use at Christmas then throw it away, the trees in our culture are the “Elders” they have been around for many years. Respect the land, it will take care of us for many years. This is the Dene way.
“Respect each other” this means to help each other. Not to hurt each other, not to talk bad (gossip) things about each other, not to wish harm upon another. Respect each other means to help each other, especially the Elders. Joe’s grandmother always told him if you always help the Elders and you will live a long happy life. This is the Dene way.
“Respect yourself” this means to be kind to yourself, don’t drink, don’t smoke and don’t invite negativity into your life. Respect yourself means to to be kind to your mind, to your body and to your spirit. Take good care of yourself so you are always able to help others. Laugh everyday and think positive thoughts. Life can be tough at times, but try to accept the tough times and move on. Respect yourself, be positive and be thankful for everyday and for everything you have. This is the Dene way.