Bearlake Indians

ETHNONYMS: Sahtú gotine, Satudene, Gens du Lac d'Ours

The Bearlake Indians are an Athapaskan-speaking Population made up of the descendants of Dogrib, Hare, Slavey, and other groups who were in contact with Europeans after the establishment of trading posts at or near Great Bear Lake in the northern Canadian Northwest Territories. Their Culture is similar to that of the Dogrib, Hare, and Slavey.

There has apparently been no change in land use and settlement patterns since they were first studied in 1928. Fort Norman on the Mackenzie River was the focal point of trade for the Bearlake Indians from the 1820s until 1950 when a Hudson's Bay Company post was established at Fort Franklin on the Keith Arm of the Lake. The Bearlake settlement at Fort Franklin has expanded since then: the town is a government center, with a school, a nursing station, a government-sponsored housing program, and a Roman Catholic church. There are about seven hundred Bearlake Indians in the area today.

See also Dogrib, Hare , Slavey


Gillespie, Beryl C. (1981). "Bearlake Indians." In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 6, Subarctic , edited by June Helm, 310-313. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

Osgood, Cornelius (1931). The Ethnography of the Great Bear Lake Indians. National Museum of Canada Bulletin no. 70, 31-97. Ottawa.

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