YKDFN warns houseboaters do not ‘anchor on our side of the Bay’

Houseboat bay in Yellowknife. YKDFN is calling out houseboaters who have been anchoring on traditional territory. (Photo by Francis Tessier-Burns)

The Yellowknives Dene First Nation issued a stern warning to houseboaters intending to move into traditional territory.

“We take this opportunity to specifically inform and give general notice to existing and potential house boaters with the intention to anchor on our side of the Bay that YKDFN will not tolerate any unauthorized occupancy, both on our lands and waters,” a press release reads.

Jason Snaggs, CEO of the YKDFN, says in an email there are currently three houseboats between the Ndilǫ and Dettah shoreline as well as two abandoned barges.

Ndilǫ Chief Ernest Betsina said in an interview with CBC, there are as many as six. 

“These acts of unauthorized occupancy are disrespectful to YKDFN, a sovereign nation,” the release continues.

Snaggs says as monitoring efforts increase, the YKDFN is reporting more squatters on the land and water from Yellowknife Bay towards the East Arm of Great Slave Lake.

The release says houseboaters anchoring on YKDFN territory are disregarding Aboriginal Rights protected under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

Snaggs says the YKDFN intend to follow up in person with the folks that are on its side of Yellowknife Bay this week.

Snaggs included a map highlighting the area of traditional YKDFN territory.


Last June, YKDFN council passed a resolution supporting the changes the boundary, allowing Jolliffe Island to be ceded to YKDFN, along with the bay where several houseboaters call home.

Yellowknife councillor Julian Morse said at the time the change has some houseboaters a little on edge.

But Dettah Chief Edward Sangris said at the time more talks will come as to how exactly the change would affect the house boat community but said safety was the priority.

With files from Francis Tessier-Burns

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com