Listen: 12 Dene recreate a journey their ancestors last undertook more than a hundred years ago

The adventure was made into a documentary film called Nahanni: River of Forgiveness, which will premiere Canada-wide on August 9.


Twelve Dene men and women from the Deh Cho and Sahtú are featured in the documentary film Nahanni: River of Forgiveness. The film follows their journey of building a mooseskin boat and paddling the Nahanni River. (Photo courtesy of David McCaughna)

In 2018, 12 Dene men and women set out to recreate a journey their ancestors went through more than a hundred years ago. The group would build a mooseskin boat and paddle the mighty Nahanni River in the Deh Cho region of the Northwest Territories.

A film crew led by director Geoff Bowie captured the journey and turned it into a documentary film called Nahanni: River of Forgiveness. The film was more than a decade in the making with former Dehcho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian proposing the idea in 2005.

Lory Ann Bertrand was one of the youngest participants on the 500-kilometre adventure. She had the opportunity to learn “real bush skills” from Elders, despite a few hiccups along the way.

Nahanni: River of Forgiveness is having its Canada-wide premiere this Sunday, August 9, 2020 at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on the Documentary Channel.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com