Denesoline Community Development Corporation, a fully owned subsidiary of Denesoline Corporation, is dedicated to serving the community of Lutsel K'e.
Lutsel K’e (pronounced “Loot-sel-kay”) is located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake near its eastern end. Until 1992, it was known as Snowdrift. The name means “place of the Lutsel (a small fish that today is known as a cisco). The community has been on its present site since 1954 when homes from the original community site a few kilometres away were moved to the present site on Christie Bay.
Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) members support each other – it has always been that way. In Lutsel K’e, everyone is family. Often, when someone hunts a moose, or takes a large catch of fish, they give the meat to elders and share it with the whole town. They are proud to be a community.
Approximately 380 people live in the community, and the languages spoken are Chipewyan and English. The community services include a community learning centre, a K-10 school, a health centre, RCMP detachment, church, post office, a Co-op store and community hall. Although not accessible by road, the community has year-round daily scheduled air service to and from Yellowknife which is 201 kilometers to the west of the community. An annual “sealift” from Hay River in the summer is used to ship everything from building supplies, trucks and heavy equipment to furniture, appliances, groceries and fuel.
Our people have lived on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake for many generations. We are the northernmost Denesoline (Chipewyan) community. Lutsel K’e is approximately 40 kilometres south of the tree line and both the forest and the tundra are part of our lands.
Before we settled into a year-round community we lived a nomadic life on the land. Most Elders of Lutsel K’e were born and raised on the land. They followed the caribou through the barren lands, trapped small mammals along trap lines and fished the lakes and rivers. Their home was a caribou hide tent. Survival depended on being as resourceful as possible.
At certain times of the year our people gathered in one spot to celebrate, share and reconnect with each other. Gatherings provided a place for the young and old to rejuvenate, play hand games, ball games, tell stories and take part in drum and fiddle dances. One of these special places was Kache, a village at the mouth of the Lockhart River. To this day, Kache remains a place of great importance to the people of Lutsel K’e.
The community of Lutsel K’e has grown slowly over the last 75 years. At first the focal point was the Hudson’s Bay Store which was built on “The Point” in 1925. The establishment of this trading post brought people to live near the Bay Store year round. However in the 40s and 50s most people in the area still lived along the shores of Great Slave Lake from “The Gap” to Stark Lake. People settled there at first because there was great fishing at the Gap which remained unfrozen all year. But with the building of a school near the Bay Store in 1960 and the relocation of the church to its present site more people began to build cabins and live on the point.