Signing of the Ndahecho Gondié Gháádé Agreement for Nahanni National Park Reserve


·  The term “Nahanni” originates from Nahʔą Dehé, the Dene Zhatie name for what is known as Nahanni National Park Reserve.

·  Situated in the Dehcho Region in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories, Nahʔą Dehé shares its northern boundary with Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve (Nááts’įhch’oh). The South Nahanni River is the central feature of the Nahʔą Dehé. It originates at the height of land near the Northwest Territories and Yukon border, ending more than 500 kilometres downstream at its confluence with the Liard River near the community of Tthenáágó (Nahanni Butte).

·  Significant features within the park reserve include Náįlįcho (also known as Virginia Falls), deep antecedent river canyons, limestone karst and pseudokarst topography, numerous thermal springs, the highest mountains and largest glaciers in the Northwest Territories, and Canada’s largest tufa mounds.

·  National park reserves do not impact the carrying on of traditional and spiritual activities of Indigenous rights holders.

·  Once land claims are settled and agreements are negotiated (addressing cooperative management, harvesting, and cultural and spiritual activities, among other things), the national park reserve is designated under the Canada National Parks Act as a national park, assuring that any rights pursuant to the land claims are affirmed and that cooperative management with Indigenous peoples will continue. Until then, a national park reserve is managed like a national park.

·  In 2009, the Government of Canada and Dehcho First Nations jointly announced the substantial expansion of Nahanni to encompass an area of approximately 30,050 square kilometres, making it the third largest national park in Canada. 

·  The Dehcho First Nations’ commitment to this expansion was rooted in their expectation that an Impact and Benefit Agreement (IBA) would be implemented.

·  In 2009, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band was a member of the Dehcho First Nations. The band was and continues to be recognized as having the majority of their traditional territory within Nahanni.

·  IBA negotiations with Dehcho First Nations, including Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band, began in 2012 and were well advanced by 2017.

·  Following the renewal of negotiations in 2021, partners including Canada, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations reached a consensus on a shared governance agreement, the Ndahecho Gondié Gháádé Agreement, in 2022.


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