Parks Canada

Parks Canada

April 14, 2009 17:30 ET

Government of Canada Announces the Protection of Canada's Largest National Historic Site

DELINE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - April 14, 2009) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced steps taken to permanently protect Saoyu and AEehdacho National Historic Site of Canada - an area approximately the size of Prince Edward Island - on the shores of Great Bear Lake.

"Saoyu and AEehdacho represents an Aboriginal cultural landscape of great importance to the Sahtu and of national historic significance to all Canadians," said Minister Prentice. "I'm proud that our Government is helping to ensure the long-term preservation of a unique part of Canada's north and its heritage. Elders will continue to have the opportunity to transmit their knowledge and experience to the younger generation of Sahtugot'ine, ensuring opportunities for the preservation of their history, language and culture."

Minister Prentice announced that a land transfer agreement has been concluded between Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Parks Canada that transfers the surface title of the national historic site to Parks Canada. This will permit the site to be listed in the National Historic Sites Order under the Canada National Parks Act and for regulations to be enforced to protect the site.

A co-operative management agreement, signed between the Government of Canada, the Deline Land Corporation and the Deline Renewable Resources Council, makes Saoyu and AEehdacho the first northern cultural landscape commemorated by the Government of Canada, the first northern national historic site co-operatively managed by Parks Canada and an Aboriginal group, and the first protected area established under the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy. The agreement provides for a total of $8.75 million over 10 years in Government of Canada funding for initial development and ongoing operational costs of the site.

"This announcement is another example of our government's ongoing commitment to work in partnership with First Nations to manage sites that are important to local communities, Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians.

"Saoyu and AEehdacho is an important cultural and spiritual area and the land is alive with the stories of our people. Without the land, the stories die," said Chief Raymond Tutcho, Deline First Nation. "Full protection of this land ensures that these stories can forever enrich our people and be shared with all Canadians."

Saoyu and AEehdacho National Historic Site of Canada was designated in 1996, and represents an Aboriginal cultural landscape of 5565 km2 located on two peninsulas at Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. There is a wealth of oral histories and stories tied to the specific places found throughout Saoyu and AEehdacho and the area represents the importance of traditional narratives to the culture of the Sahtugot'ine. The Elders' vision for Saoyu and AEehdacho is one of continued teaching and healing, a place that forever helps to sustain the culture and well-being of the Sahtugot'ine people.

Parks Canada works to ensure that Canada's historic and natural heritage is presented and protected for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians, today and in the future. Through a network of 42 national parks, 162 national historic sites, and three national marine conservation areas, Parks Canada invites Canadians, and people from around the world, to experience Canada's treasured natural and historic places.

Also available on the Internet at under Media Room.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    Parks Canada
    Joanne Huppe
    Media Relations Advisor