Why Protect Tsá Túé?
The Délı̨nę Got’ınę see themselves and Great Bear Lake as inextricably linked through the shared Tudzǝ́ (Water Heart). This concept is at the foundation of the community’s approach to self-government and land stewardship, which is grounded in their way of life on the land and the teachings of the community’s ancestors and prophets. The spiritual, cultural and ecological concept of Dene Tsı̨lı̨ (Being Dene) guides the community forward to a sustainable future.
The name Tsá Túé refers to the original name of Great Bear Lake, and the epic story of the giant beavers (tsá) that were living at the northeastern bay when the world was new. Yámoríyá, a heroic character well known throughout the Northwest Territories as “the Lawmaker,” chased the giant beaver all the way to Bear River where three of the beavers were killed, and north along the Mackenzie River to the Arctic coast. In the process, ecological ɂeɂa (order or laws) were established and many features of the landscape visible today were created. This story shows the importance of Great Bear Lake in the larger biocultural landscape of Canada’s North.
Canada’s Biosphere reserves
UNESCO biosphere reserves foster and share scientific, Indigenous, and local knowledge in order to explore new ways of living that solve global challenges and address the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There are 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves in Canada, representing the country’s geographic, climatic ecological, economic, and cultural diversity. Canada’s first biosphere reserve designation was in 1978 and its latest was in 2016. The world network of UNESCO designated biosphere reserves includes 669 reserves in 120 countries, covering an overall area larger than China. This world network connects communities and regions across the globe who are pioneering a positive future for people and nature.