From the first day I met Bobbi Rose Koe, Tetlit Gwich’in and River guide, I had an inkling of impactful projects ahead. Bobbi is a powerful orator, a leader in her community and across the North and a river guide with a generational understanding of the rivers of the Peel Watershed; her family was born, raised, and buried on this land for millenia.
Together we cofounded Dinjii Zhuh Adventures as a way to find the old trails. Bobbi and I built this company together to be part economic reconciliation, part conservation long game, Dinjii Zhuh represents a new path forward and now trains all Nahanni River Adventures indigenous guides.
The highlands that divide the Yukon Territory from the Northwest Territories have always had routes across them. By foot, by dogsled and by boats of skin and bark the people of these lands knew where they were going and when to be there. For generations beautiful, intentional lines were drawn across the land as people followed caribou, timed their arrival at spawning grounds to harvest fish and at meeting points like Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson, NWT) to trade. To do this successfully required one to express “dinjii zhuh”; through their actions with others and on the land.
Through the advancement of the Canadian project the freedom to and the knowledge of how to travel through this country was stripped away, stolen in pursuit of control.
The Indigenous Youth River Guide Training Program was one of our first steps on the journey and we are excited to share the story with you all! Filmed along the Wind River it documents the expedition portion of the training program where members of the Nahanni River Adventures guide team shared their knowledge and experience.
Chase Yakelaya and Olivia Dragon are now apprenticing as guides with Nahanni River Adventures.