Our Dene Culture

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Joe with Chief Joachim Bonnetrouge of the Deh Gah First Nation at the Telimia Culture Camp on the Mackenzie River.

Honouring our Elders, our Ancestors

Our owner, Joe was raised by his grandparents on the shores of the Great Slave Lake in Deninu Kue and in Yellowknife and by his aunt and uncle in the Deh Cho.

Joe is a descendent of the true Yellowknife’s Dene peoples and as an Indigenous tour company owner, Joe takes great pride in sharing our Indigenous culture with you in a manner that honours and respects our Ancestors and culture.

However, 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.

For us here at North Star, we have always believed our cultural tours are a representation of our customs and traditions, and thus need to be treated with highest of respect. This is the basis of approach when we do our tours and packages.

All of our guides are Indigenous and all share the same vision as Joe, to do our tours in a manner that rightfully honours and respects our heritage. We are happy to share our culture with you, we are happy to share stories about our land experiences, about our language, about our spirituality and more.

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Joe with respected Elder Sam Gargan at Ax Point traditional camp on the Mackenzie River.

Dene Laws of Life

As a teenager and a young adult Joe was fortunate enough to call the Deh Cho home. He lived with and was taught valuable life lessons about our Dene way from his aunt and uncle Jim and Celine Antoine. Joe credits his Grandparents and his aunt and uncle for instilling strong family and Dene values in him.

These valuable lessons help guide Joe through his everyday life, and in particular is the foundation for his business’ vision and mission statement.

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 travel on the land, when we get food from the land, whether it be a fish in the fishnet or an animal, we say a prayer.

This also means not selling the food we get from the land for money, if someone needs food, 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 meat when we harvest it.

Respect the land, means 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 think, talk or do bad things to each other, not to wish harm upon another. Respect each other means to always help each other, even a small thing like saying “Hi” or smiling to someone.

Respect each other, means helping the Elders, Joe’s grandmother always told him “if you always help the Elders 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 and manage the tough times, learn from those situations and move on. Respect yourself, be positive and be thankful for everyday and for everything you have. This is the Dene way.

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Joe on our Nature Hike tour talking to guests about our special relationship to the land.

We are North America’s Original tour guides

When the first Europeans landed on our North American shores hundreds and hundreds years ago, we were here and we welcomed these new comers to our land. We offered to take them in, feed them and show them our hospitality. Unfortunately, we all know how things turned out, not good. Nonetheless, at the time we were welcoming to these new peoples.

This still holds true today, no matter which Indigenous community you visit, you will quickly notice we are happy to welcome you to our community. This is part of who we are as Indigenous peoples, it is in our nature to welcome strangers and make them feel at home. We are North America’s original tour guides and we look forward to having you on our tours.

100% Indigenous owned – 50,000 Years of experience