The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation announces their new ownership of Frontier Fishing Lodge, a world-class fishing destination in Thaidene Nëné
Chief Darryl Marlowe
Łutsël K’é, NWT — The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories have become the new owners of the Frontier Fishing Lodge, just a few kilometres from their community of Łutsël K’é on Tu Nedhé (Great Slave Lake).
As the official Gateway to Thaidene Nëné, Frontier Lodge will continue to offer world-class fishing and will add new adventures and cultural programs interpreted from the Łutsël K’é Dene perspective. Plans are underway to make much needed capital improvements to Frontier Lodge, including upgrades to buildings, furniture, fixtures and equipment, and incorporating traditional arts and crafts into the design.
The new ownership also follows this summer’s establishment of Thaidene Nëné by the Łutsël K’é, in partnership with the Canadian Government and Government of the Northwest Territories.
Chief Darryl Marlowe states “With the recent acquisition of the Frontier Fishing Lodge and our establishment of Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve we feel very proud. We have made major steps to ensure we protect the land, water and wildlife and at the same time preserve our cultural practices and create opportunities for our future as our elders instructed us to do. The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation is very pleased to have the support of its membership to make all these plans become a reality for a better future for our people”.
Spanning 6.5 million acres, Thaidene Nëné is an Indigenous Protected Area that includes Canada’s newest national park reserve, as well as new territorial protected areas. It will permanently protect the forest, tundra and freshwater systems of Tu Nedhé (Great Slave Lake).
For decades, members of Łutsël K’é have worked as expert guides at the 60-year-old Frontier Fishing Lodge, as well as in other positions, sharing their deep knowledge of their homelands with fishers who come from all over the world to catch enormous lake trout, as well as northern pike and grayling.
At a recent community meeting, Łutsël K’é members gathered to hear from the newly established Board of Directors, which was appointed by the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation Chief and Council, as well as the new general manager, Corey Myers, who has worked for the lodge for 10 years under the previous owners.
Łutsël K’é Dene members discussed plans for the 2020 summer season, sharing their positive sentiments about the Frontier Lodge and how it will expand opportunities for local people. Aside from the jobs created by the lodge operations, there will be new opportunities for local guides and outfitters, arts and crafts, cultural experiences and more.
Many Elders spoke about their experiences working for the lodge, including Ernest Boucher, who shared that he was hired by the lodge’s original owners to stake the posts for its construction. Doris Enzoe shared that she worked for 14 summers at the lodge in many different roles, including as a housekeeper, cook and fishing guide.
Many expressed a desire to share their Dene culture, traditions and knowledge with visitors, as well as the natural beauty and wildlife of Thaidene Nëné, which translates to “Land of the Ancestors.”
Local guides who operate local outdoor touring companies expressed hope that the lodge would support community members in their own businesses and are excited for the potential for future clientele.
The Board of Directors and General Manager also spoke about potential training opportunities that will be offered to the community this spring, which may include hospitality and tourism, excursions, wilderness first aid, and more.
Susan Catling, Frontier Fishing Lodge Board of Director states "Having taken ownership of the lodge will open the gateway to Thaidene Nëné through Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation. Individuals will be able to experience first hand our culture and traditions. There are opportunities for our local small businesses to participate in sharing who we are as Dënesųłı̨né People. There will also be many opportunities for community members to contribute with training and mentorships that will be available as we move forward"
The Frontier Lodge will complement new local tourism enterprises, as well as future plans to build a Thaidene Nëné interpretation and administrative centre.
To book for the 2020 summer season, please call 1-877-465-6843 or visit frontierfishinglodge.com.
To learn more about Thaidene Nëné, including visitor information and to connect with local guides, visit landoftheancestors.ca