Discover Whatì, Northwest Territories: A Rich Blend of History and Culture
Introduction to Whatì, Northwest Territories
Whatì, officially known as the Tłı̨chǫ Community Government of Whatì, is a First Nations community nestled in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. The name Whatì, derived from the Dogrib language, translates to "Marten Lakes". The community is situated by Lac La Martre, approximately 164 km (102 mi) northwest of the territorial capital, Yellowknife.
The Historical Journey of Whatì, Northwest Territories
The area around Whatì, Northwest Territories, has been a favored hunting ground for the Tłı̨chǫ (Dogrib Dene) Indigenous people, thanks to its rich and diverse wildlife. The North West Company established a trading post in the region in 1793, attracting many natives to settle permanently while continuing their hunting and fishing activities.
In the late 19th century, the establishment of a trading post at Fort Rae on Great Slave Lake shifted most regional trading to the Hudson's Bay Company and free traders posts there. A trading post at Lac La Martre was not re-established until the 1920s.
On January 1, 1996, the community officially changed its name from Lac La Martre to the Tłı̨chǫ name "Wha Ti", meaning "Marten Lake," the same meaning as the French. The name was further changed to the current spelling on August 4, 2005. Other traditional Tłı̨chǫ names for the settlement include Tsoti ('fouled water lake') and Mine Go Kola ('net fishing with houses').
Before 2005, the community was unincorporated, and local governance was provided by a First Nations band government, Wha Ti First Nation. Under the terms of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement, most responsibilities of Wha Ti have been transferred to a new Whatì Community Government. However, the First Nation is still recognized by the federal government for Indian Act enrollment.
Demographics of Whatì, Northwest Territories
According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Whatì had a population of 543 living in 143 of its 162 total private dwellings, a change of 15.5% from its 2016 population of 470. With a land area of 58.33 km2 (22.52 sq mi), it had a population density of 9.3/km2 (24.1/sq mi) in 2021. The majority of the population is Indigenous, with 445 being First Nations and 10 Métis. The main languages spoken are Dogrib and English, with a few North Slavey speakers.
Infrastructure and Transport in Whatì, Northwest Territories
Previously, Whatì was accessible from the rest of Canada by the Whatì Airport and a winter road. However, the construction of the Tlicho All-Season Road, which connects the community to the Yellowknife Highway, began in 2019 and was opened in November 2021.
Climate of Whatì, Northwest Territories
Whatì experiences a subarctic climate (Dfc) characterized by mild to warm summers and long, cold winters.