Teetlit Zheh (Fort McPherson)
Teetlit Zheh is the homeland of all Gwich’in. Most of the 950 people living in Teetlit Zheh are of Gwich’in descent. Teetlit Zheh is a strongly knit community that supports traditional Gwich’in and cultural values. Important moments on the Gwich’in journey to self-government happened in Teetlit Zheh, including signing Treaty 11 on July 28, 1921 and the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement on April 22, 1992.
The community is located on the banks of the Peel River and overlooks the Richardson Mountains. It is about 187km from Inuvik and surrounded by rich stands of birch, spruce, and pine trees and the protected lands and waters of the Peel watershed.
Tsiigehtchic literally means “mouth of the Iron River” because of the rich iron and mineral deposits found in the soil of the Arctic Red River. The community is located at the confluence of the Arctic Red and Mackenzie Rivers. The Gwich’in community in Tsiigehtchic was the first to sign Treaty 11 in 1921. Today, there are approximately 200 people living in the community, and 90% are of Gwich’in descent.
Aklavik is one of the most westerly communities of the Northwest Territories. It is located on the Peel Channel of the Mackenzie Delta approximately 100 km south of the Beaufort Sea. There are about 780 people living in Aklavik. Frozen rivers create road access from December to April and the community is otherwise accessible by ferry or air.
Inuvik, which means "Place of Man" in Inuvialuktun, was conceived in 1953 as a replacement administrative centre for the hamlet of Aklavik on the west of the Mackenzie Delta, as the latter was prone to flooding and had no room for expansion. Initially called "New Aklavik", it was renamed Inuvik in 1958. The school was built in 1959 and the hospital, government offices and staff residences in 1960, when people, including Gwich’in, Inuvialuit and Métis began to live in the community. Today Inuvik proper is fully within the bounds of the Gwich'in Settlement Area and is home to 3500 people and over 600 Gwich'in Participants.