Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation Launches Online Store Featuring Locally Made Art, Clothing, Jewellry, and Tools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2020 – Łutsël K’é, NT
On Tuesday, November 10, the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation (LKDFN) will officially launch Caribou People Creations, an online store featuring the work of skilled local artists and artisans.
“The name signifies who we are as Dënesųłı̨né people,” says Chief Darryl Marlowe of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation. “We have always been and always will be the people of the caribou.”
Caribou People Creations will provide LKDFN members living in Łutsël K’é with a wider audience for their arts and crafts.
Hanna Catholique, administrator of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation Chief and Council says, “Each piece is handcrafted using traditional methods and materials harvested from the lands and waters.” A pair of earrings featuring smooth discs of caribou antlers harvested during a community hunt. A hide-fleshing tool handcrafted from the leg bone of a moose. Mittens made of tanned caribou hide trimmed with sealskin and lined with duffle. “Every piece truly tells a story,” says Catholique.
Purchasing art and crafts through Caribou People Creations does more than support the economic well-being of the people of Łutsël K’é. It also supports the preservation of Dënesųłıné culture and traditions.
“Sewing and creating crafts has always been a reconnection with our culture and expression of skills that have been passed on from generations. It has allowed us to be proud to exercise those skills into the future. Our grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, aunties, and uncles all taught us skills, be it sewing, carving, making snowshoes, making bone tools. All the women knew how to sew when I was growing up and we did not have that in residential school; we had to relearn from them in our language to keep our identity alive as Dënesųłı̨né people. The expression of appreciation by those they crafted for was the reward,” says Florence Catholique, a local artisan.
Chief Darryl Marlowe says, “The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation is working towards developing more local economic opportunities that are sustainable and respectful of the environment and our traditional ways. Our new online store, Caribou People Creations, is another tool we will use to showcase all the talent our community has to offer the world.”
Łutsël K’é is in the midst of several new economic development initiatives, following last year’s establishment of Thaidene Nëné, an Indigenous Protected Area that includes Canada’s newest national park reserve and territorial protected areas.
In January, the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation acquired the world-class Frontier Lodge. For decades, members of Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation have worked as expert guides at the 60-year-old lodge, 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.
The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation is expanding the lodge’s tours and experiences in order to offer visitors to Thaidene Nëné many different ways to connect with the culture, history, and natural beauty of the Land of the Ancestors. The lodge complements newly launched local tourism enterprises, as well as plans to build an interpretative and administrative centre for Thaidene Nëné.
Rosie Jobin-Catholique has been busy setting up the Caribou People Creations website and cataloguing items for sale. After tomorrow, she will also be managing marketing and sales for the online store.
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We are the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation. Our vision for Thaidene Nëné is:
Nuwe néné, nuwe ch'anıé yunedhé xa (Our land, our culture for the future).
We’re working with our partners to permanently protect Thaidene Nëné—part of our
huge and bountiful homeland around and beyond the East Arm of Tu Nedhé.