dene-a-journey-S01EP3-featured

Real Gwich’in Spirit

Sisters, Tania and Nina Larsson are on a spiritual journey to reconnect with their Gwich’in heritage. Tania and Nina travel north on the spectacular Dempster highway to experience the popular Annual Midway Lake Music Festival. The young women return home with a new spring in their step, having recharged their indigenous roots.

EPISODE 3

Real Gwich’in Spirit

Sisters, Tania and Nina Larsson are on a spiritual journey to reconnect with their Gwich’in heritage. Tania and Nina travel north on the spectacular Dempster highway to experience the popular Annual Midway Lake Music Festival. The young women return home with a new spring in their step, having recharged their indigenous roots.

“I can’t move forward because I feel like I do not know my past enough”

- Nina Larsson

Gwich’in and Fort McPherson

Fort McPherson is situated on the East bank of the Peel River in the Northwest Territories.  Originally a Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post, the community was named after Murdoch McPherson, who became the chief Factor for the Hudson’s Bay Company.  The main languages spoken in the community are Gwich’in and English.

The Gwich’in are a part of the Athabaskan-speaking people who live in the Northwestern part of North America.  They are excellent crafts persons, and are well known for their showshoes, birch bark canoes, beadwork, caribou-hide clothing and porcupine quill beadwork.

In this episode, Tania and Nina Larsson attend the Midway Music Festival, an annual gathering held every August, which is located 40 kilometers southwest of Fort McPherson, just off the Dempster Highway.  The festival is a place for people to gather and celebrate the Gwich’in culture, listen to storytelling and live music, and dance.

The Dempster Highway is Canada’s only all weather road that crosses the Arctic Circle.  It connects the Klondike Highway in the Yukon to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.  The highway crosses the Peel River and Mackenzie River using a combination of seasonal ferry services and ice roads.

Fort McPherson is a part of the Inuvik Beaufort Delta Region, which is self-governed through the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Gwich’in Tribal Council.

Tania Larsson

Tania Larsson

    Nina Larsson

    Nina Larsson

      Tania and Nina Larsson

      Tania and Nina Larsson were born in France to a Gwichin mother and Swedish father. Despite having grown up in Europe, the Larsson sisters never felt like they belonged. The desire to find this sense of belonging led them to eventually move to Yellowknife from France, where they are now continually seeking out ways to re-connect with their culture. Both are currently taking Gwichin language classes in Yellowknife.