Categories ICCA national and sub-national studies, Local and national reviews and examples

Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation Membership Approves Thaidene Nene Establishment

First published on 02/19/2019, and last updated on 02/25/2019

Press release by the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation; Steven Nitah, ICCA Consortium Honorary Member

Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) members have ratified the establishment of Thaidene Nene through a unanimous show of hands on January 17th, 2019 at a special assembly in Lutsel K’e, and a successful all-member referendum on February 18th, 2019. 88% of all ballots cast in the all-member referendum were in favour of Thaidene Nene establishment. With this ratification, the LKDFN membership authorizes its Chief and Council to sign Establishment Agreements with Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to permanently protect Thaidene Nene under Denesoline, federal, and territorial law.

Fifteen years ago, LKDFN elders mandated the protection of the heart of the LKDFN territory. This ratification marks a significant milestone towards the achievement of this vision. The whole of Thaidene Nene (26,376 km2) will be designated by LKDFN as a protected area under Denesoline Law. Upon the signing of the Establishment Agreements, the core of Thaidene Nene will also be designated a new National Park Reserve (14,305 km2) by the Government of Canada, with abutting areas designated as Protected Areas (12,071 km2) by the GNWT.

Thaidene Nene is the heart of the traditional territory and sacred place of the Lutsel K’e Denesoline. It is where the ancestors of the Lutsel K’e Denesoline laid down the sacred, ethical, and practical foundations of the Denesoline way of life. Thaidene Nene will protect an outstanding representative portion of the northwestern boreal uplands habitat for wildlife species such as barren-ground caribou, and ensure that the Dene way of life continues. Thaidene Nene is a new model for protected areas – LKDFN and public governments will work together in the planning, management and operation of the protected areas.

Chief Darryl Marlowe noted: “The results of this ratification process clearly show that our people are fully behind the vision of our elders to protect Thaidene Nene forever. We are now moving forward as a community to ensure that our way of life will thrive into the future. We will exercise our responsibility to take care of this land and protect the way of life of our people, and work together with our government partners on nation-to-nation basis to welcome visitors to our lands.”

Once established, Thaidene Nene is expected to directly create at least 18 new management and operation jobs within the community, including at least 10 year-round jobs. Indirect job creation in the community’s tourism sector is projected at another 20 year-round jobs and 30 seasonal.  LKDFN and its public government partners are together committed to spend between $4M-$7M per annum on Thaidene management, including new investments in capital projects

within Lutsel K’e and Thaidene Nene. These investments will secure the development of a local, sustainable economy in Lutsel K’e, and generate further growth of the increasingly important tourism sector for the NWT as a whole.

The LKDFN looks forward to joining with its public government partners to sign the Establishment Agreements in Lutsel K’e in Spring 2019.

Contacts: Chief Darryl Marlowe –

Steven Nitah – LKDFN Negotiator –

Additionnal information can be found here: Lutselk’e votes to support creation of Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve