Canada – Northwest Territories

Canada – Northwest Territories – Dogrib ǀ North American Indian ǀ American Indian


Tlicho (Tłı̨chǫ), also known as Dogrib, are an Indigenous people in Canada. They fall within the broader designation of Dene, who are Indigenous peoples of the widespread Athapaskan (or Athabascan) language family. Their name for themselves is Doné, meaning “the People.” The people inhabit the forested and barren-ground areas between the Great Bear and Great Slave lakes in the Northwest Territories, Canada. There are six settlements: Behchoko (formerly Rae-Edzo), Whati (Lac la Martre), Gameti, Wekweeti (Snare Lake), Detah, and N’dilo (a subcommunity of Yellowknife). 

The name Dogrib is an English adaptation of their own name, Thlingchadinne, or Dog-Flank People, referring to their fabled descent from a supernatural dog-man. The Dogrib remained relatively isolated until the mid-20th century, when improved transportation and communication facilities brought them into greater contact with other parts of Canada. Dogrib descendants numbered more than 3,000 in the early 21st century.

Photo: A group of Dogrib women working on the Dogrib Caribou Skin Lodge Project. Purchased from the Dogrib trading leader Bear Lake Chief in 1893 by naturalist Frank Russell, the original lodge was carefully stored in Iowa for over a century. The lodge, returned to the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center by the University of Iowa, is likely the only surviving Dogrib caribou skin lodge, and it has since become an important touchstone to a bygone era.  The original lodge was too fragile for permanent display, so the women are part of a group to construct two replicas. 

Canada – Northwest Territories – Dogrib population data are based on blood samples obtained from 6 unrelated individuals living in the Southwestern United States in 2016.

Source publication: Native American Population Data based on the Globalfiler autosomal STR PCR Amplification Kit, Forensic Science International, 2016, 12-13.  

 [Population 475]