The Tl’azt’en Nation, or “People by the Edge of the Bay”, is a First Nations community situated in north-central British Columbia, Canada. We know ourselves as Dakelh (we travel by water) but Europeans called us “Carriers”. Our language, Dakelh, is part of the Athapaskan language group.
Prior to European contact, Tl’azt’en’s traditional territory covered a vast area along Stuart Lake running up the Tache River almost to Takla Lake to the north. The Keyoh (land) was managed by family units and the family head governed hunting, fishing and gathering in his Keyoh. It was not until the late 1800s that Tl’azt’enne began to gather in central communities in response to the fur trade and the dictates of the Roman Catholic Church.
The population of Tl’azt’en Nation today is around 1793. Of these, approximately 543 live on reserve, one of the main communities of Tache, Binche and Dzitl’ainli, and K’uzche. Tache, the largest of the communities, is situated 65 km north of Fort St. James at the mouth of the Tache River on Stuart Lake. Binche is 25 km from Fort St. James and at the mouth of the Binche River which drains Binche Lake into Stuart Lake. Dzitl’ainli is on Leo Creek Road along side Trembleur Lake. K’uzche is on the Tache River.
Our main administrative offices are in Tache. Tache also houses our elementary school, daycare, head start, and health office.
It is our goal to have our culture and language integrated into all aspects of our education from daycare to high school. Over the years we have trained our people to work in our daycare, head start and our community-based elementary school. We are presently working to preserve, digitize and promote our language, stories, and cultural practices so that they will form our curriculum. Our elders are helping us in our effort to reinstate and perpetuate our language and culture before it is all lost.
Our people still live off the land and we hunt for moose, deer, bear, caribou, mountain goat, and small fur-bearing animals. We set nets for salmon, whitefish, trout, kokanee, spring salmon, and ling cod. We still go to our camp grounds in the summer time and gather food for our winter storage.