Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories (NWT or NT; French, les Territoires du Nord-Ouest, TNO) is a federal territory
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 of Canada.

Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon
Yukon is the westernmost and smallest of Canada's three federal territories. It was named after the Yukon River. The word Yukon means "Great River" in Gwich’in....

 to the west and Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

 to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 to the southwest, and Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 to the south. It has a land area of 1140835 square kilometre and a population of 41,464 as of the 2006 census
Canada 2006 Census
The Canada 2006 Census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. Census day was May 16, 2006. The next census following will be the 2011 Census. Canada's total population enumerated by the 2006 census was 31,612,897...

, an increase of 11.0% from 2001. In 1967, as a result of recommendations by the Carrothers Commission
Carrothers Commission
The Carrothers Commission, formally The Advisory Commission on the Development of Government in the Northwest Territories, was a commission set up by the government of Canada to study the future of government of the Northwest Territories. It was led by A.W.R...

, Yellowknife became the capital.

Geographical features include Great Bear Lake
Great Bear Lake
Great Bear Lake is the largest lake entirely within Canada , the third or fourth largest in North America, and the seventh or eighth largest in the world...

, the largest lake entirely within Canada, Keller Lake
Keller Lake
Keller Lake is a surface water body in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is located south of the Great Bear Lake and north of Fort Simpson, at an elevation of . The lake has a triangular shape, a surface area of , and it empties through the Johnny Hoe River into the Great Bear Lake.There is...

, and Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada , the deepest lake in North America at , and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is long and wide. It covers an area of in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from to and up to ...

, as well as the Mackenzie River
Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the country's Northwest Territories, although its many tributaries reach into four other Canadian provinces and territories...

 and the canyons of the Nahanni National Park Reserve
Nahanni National Park Reserve
Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, approximately west of Yellowknife, protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region. The centrepiece of the park is the South Nahanni River. Four noteworthy canyons reaching in depth, called...

, a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

. Territorial islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Canadian Arctic Archipelago
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago, also known as the Arctic Archipelago, is a Canadian archipelago north of the Canadian mainland in the Arctic...

 include Banks Island
Banks Island
One of the larger members of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Banks Island is situated in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is separated from Victoria Island to its east by the Prince of Wales Strait and from the mainland by Amundsen Gulf to its south. The Beaufort Sea lies...

, Borden Island
Borden Island
Borden Island is an uninhabited, low-lying island in the Queen Elizabeth Islands of northern Canada. With an area of in size, it is the 172nd largest island in the world, and Canada's 30th largest island...

, Prince Patrick Island
Prince Patrick Island
A member of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Prince Patrick Island is the westernmost of the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The area of the island is , making it the 55th largest island in the world and Canada's 14th largest island...

, and parts of Victoria Island and Melville Island. Its highest point is Mount Nirvana
Mount Nirvana
Mount Nirvana, at is the unofficial name of the highest mountain in the Northwest Territories, Canada.-History:Part of the Mackenzie Mountains, it was first climbed by Bill Buckingham and Lew Surdam in July 1965.-Today:...

 near the border with Yukon at an elevation of 2773 metres (9,098 ft).

While Nunavut is mostly Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

, the Northwest Territories has a slightly warmer climate and is mostly boreal forest (taiga)
Taiga , also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods...

, although about half of the territory is north of the tree line.


The present-day territory was created in June 1870, when the Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company
The Hudson's Bay Company , abbreviated HBC, or "The Bay" is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. A fur trading business for much of its existence, today Hudson's Bay Company owns and operates retail stores throughout Canada...

 transferred Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land
Rupert's Land, or Prince Rupert's Land, was a territory in British North America, consisting of the Hudson Bay drainage basin that was nominally owned by the Hudson's Bay Company for 200 years from 1670 to 1870, although numerous aboriginal groups lived in the same territory and disputed the...

 and North-Western Territory
North-Western Territory
The North-Western Territory was a region of British North America until 1870. Named for where it lay in relation to Rupert's Land, the territory at its greatest extent covered what is now Yukon, mainland Northwest Territories, northwestern mainland Nunavut, northwestern Saskatchewan, northern...

 to the government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

. This immense region comprised all of non-confederation Canada
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

 except British Columbia, the coast of the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

 valley and the southern third of Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, the Maritimes
The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

, Newfoundland, and the Labrador
Labrador is the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It comprises the mainland portion of the province, separated from the island of Newfoundland by the Strait of Belle Isle...

 coast. It also excluded the Arctic Islands
British Arctic Territories
British Arctic Territories were territories claimed by Britain in North America, consisting of the islands of what is now known in Canada as the High Arctic....

 except the southern half of Baffin Island
Baffin Island
Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut is the largest island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world. Its area is and its population is about 11,000...

; these remained under direct British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 claim until 1880.

After the transfer, the territories were gradually whittled away. The province of Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

 was created on July 15, 1870, a tiny square around Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, and then enlarged in 1881 to a rectangular region composing the modern province's south. By the time British Columbia joined Confederation on July 20, 1871, it had already (1866) been granted the portion of North-Western Territory south of 60 degrees north
60th parallel north
The 60th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 60 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and west of 120 degrees west
120th meridian west
The meridian 120° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, an area that had comprised most of the Stickeen Territories. In 1882, Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan
Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The city is the second-largest in the province and a cultural and commercial centre for southern Saskatchewan. It is governed by Regina City Council. Regina is the cathedral city of the Roman Catholic and Romanian Orthodox...

 in the District of Assiniboia became the territorial capital; after Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1905, Regina became the provincial capital of Saskatchewan.

In 1876, the District of Keewatin
District of Keewatin
The District of Keewatin was a territory of Canada and later an administrative district of the Northwest Territories.The name "Keewatin" comes from Algonquian roots—either kīwēhtin in Cree or giiwedin in Ojibwe—both of which mean north wind in their respective languages...

, at the centre of the territory, was separated from it. In 1882 and again in 1896, the remaining portion was divided into the following districts (corresponding to the following modern-day areas):
  • Alberta
    District of Alberta
    The District of Alberta was one of four districts of the Northwest Territories created in 1882. It was styled the Alberta Provisional District to distinguish it from the District of Keewatin which had a more autonomous relationship from the NWT administration...

     (southern Alberta
    Southern Alberta
    Southern Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta. As of the year 2004, the region's population was approximately 272,017. The primary cities are Lethbridge and Medicine Hat...

  • Assiniboia (southern Saskatchewan);
  • Athabasca
    District of Athabasca
    The District of Athabasca is a former district of Canada. Its northern boundary was the current southern boundary of the Northwest Territories and extended south to 55° north latitude. The westernmost part is now part of Alberta and most of the eastern part is now in Saskatchewan. The very...

     (northern Alberta
    Northern Alberta
    Northern Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta.Its primary industry is oil and gas, with large heavy oil reserves being exploited at the Athabasca Oil Sands and Wabasca Area in the east of the region...

     and Saskatchewan);
  • Franklin
    District of Franklin
    The District of Franklin was a regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories. The district consisted of the Canadian high Arctic Islands, notably Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, and Victoria Island...

     (the Arctic islands and Boothia
    Boothia Peninsula
    Boothia Peninsula is a large peninsula in Nunavut's northern Canadian Arctic, south of Somerset Island. The northern part, Murchison Promontory, is the northernmost point of mainland Canada, and thus North America....

     and Melville Peninsula
    Melville Peninsula
    Melville Peninsula is a large peninsula in the Canadian Arctic. Since 1999, it has been part of Nunavut. Before that, it was part of the District of Franklin. It's separated from Southampton Island by Frozen Strait. The narrow isthmus connecting the peninsula to the mainland is styled the “Rae...

  • Mackenzie
    District of Mackenzie
    The District of Mackenzie was a regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories. The district consisted of the portion of the Northwest Territories directly north of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan on Canada's mainland....

     (mainland NWT and western Nunavut);
  • Saskatchewan
    District of Saskatchewan
    The District of Saskatchewan was a regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories. Much of the area was incorporated into the province of Saskatchewan. The western part became part of Alberta, and the eastern part is now part of Manitoba. Its capital was Prince Albert...

     (central Saskatchewan);
  • Ungava
    District of Ungava
    The District of Ungava was a regional administrative district of Canada's Northwest Territories from 1895 to 1912. It covered the northern portion of what is today Quebec, the interior of Labrador and the offshore islands to the west and north, which are now part of the Nunavut.The continental...

     (modern-day northern Quebec
    Nord-du-Québec is the largest of the seventeen administrative regions of Quebec, Canada. With , of which are lakes and rivers, it covers much of the Labrador Peninsula and about 55% of the total land surface area of Quebec....

     and inland Labrador, as well as an offshore area in Hudson Bay
    Hudson Bay
    Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

  • Yukon (modern Yukon).

Keewatin was returned to the Northwest Territories in 1905.

In the meantime, the Province of Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 was enlarged northwestward in 1882. Quebec was also extended northwards in 1898, and the Yukon was made a separate territory in that same year in order to deal with the Klondike Gold Rush
Klondike Gold Rush
The Klondike Gold Rush, also called the Yukon Gold Rush, the Alaska Gold Rush and the Last Great Gold Rush, was an attempt by an estimated 100,000 people to travel to the Klondike region the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1897 and 1899 in the hope of successfully prospecting for gold...

, and also to remove the NWT's government from the burden of administering the sudden boom of population, economic activity, and the influx of non-Canadians.

The provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created in 1905, and Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec acquired the last of their modern territories from the NWT in 1912. This left only the districts of Mackenzie, Franklin (which absorbed the remnants of Ungava in 1920), and Keewatin. In 1925, the boundaries of the NWT were extended all the way to the North Pole
North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is, subject to the caveats explained below, defined as the point in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface...

 on the sector principle, vastly expanding its territory onto the northern ice cap
Ice cap
An ice cap is an ice mass that covers less than 50 000 km² of land area . Masses of ice covering more than 50 000 km² are termed an ice sheet....

. The reduced Northwest Territories was not represented in the Canadian House of Commons from 1907 until 1947, when the electoral district
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

 of Yukon—Mackenzie River
Yukon—Mackenzie River
Yukon—Mackenzie River was a federal electoral district in Canada that was represented in the Canadian House of Commons from 1949 to 1953. It covered the Yukon Territory, and the southwestern part of the Northwest Territories. This riding was created in 1947, and was only used in the 1949 federal...

 was created. This riding only included the District of Mackenzie. The rest of the Northwest Territories had no representation in the House of Commons until 1962, when the Northwest Territories electoral district
Northwest Territories (electoral district)
Northwest Territories was a federal electoral district represented in the Canadian House of Commons from 1962 to 1979. It was composed of the territory of the Northwest Territories.This riding was created in 1962 from Mackenzie River riding...

 was created in recognition of the Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 having been given the right to vote
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

 in 1953.

In 1912, the Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

 made the official name of these territories the Northwest Territories, dropping all hyphen
The hyphen is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. The hyphen should not be confused with dashes , which are longer and have different uses, or with the minus sign which is also longer...

ated forms of it. Between 1925 and 1999, the Northwest Territories covered a land area of 3439296 km² (1,327,920 sq mi) – larger than that of India.

On April 1, 1999, the eastern three-fifths of the Northwest Territories (including all of the District of Keewatin and much of that of Mackenzie and Franklin) became a separate Canadian territory named Nunavut.

There was some discussion of changing the name of the Northwest Territories after the splitting off of Nunavut, possibly to a term from an Aboriginal language. One proposal was "Denendeh" (an Athabaskan language
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

 word meaning "our land"). This idea was advocated by the former premier Stephen Kakfwi
Stephen Kakfwi
Stephen Kakfwi is a Canadian politician and the ninth Premier of the Northwest Territories.- Early life :...

, among others. One of the most popular proposals for a new name – one to name the territory "Bob" – began as a prank, but for a while it was at or near the top in the public-opinion poll
Opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...


In the end a poll conducted prior to division showed that strong support remained for retaining the name "Northwest Territories". This name arguably became more appropriate following division than it had been when the territories actually extended far into Canada's north-central and northeastern areas.

In Inuktitut
Inuktitut or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada...

, the Northwest Territories are referred to as ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊᖅ (Nunatsiaq), "beautiful land."


The Northwest Territories reaches for over 1300000 km² (501,932.8 sq mi) so there is a large climate variant from south to north. The southern part of the Territory (most of the mainland portion) has a subarctic climate
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

 while the islands and northern coast have a polar climate
Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers . Regions with polar climate cover over 20% of the Earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely ever shines at all in the winter...


Summers in the north are short and cool, with daytime highs in the mid teens, and lows in the single degrees. Winters are long and harsh, daytime highs in the mid -20 C and lows around -40 C. Extremes are common with summer highs in the south reaching 36 °C (96.8 °F) and lows reaching into the negatives. In winter in the south it is not uncommon for the temperatures to reach the -40 C's but can also reach the low teens during the day. In the north temperatures can reach highs of 30 °C (86 °F), and lows can reach into the low negatives.

In winter in the north it is not uncommon for the temperatures to reach the -50 C but can also reach the single digits during the day. Thunderstorm
A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, a lightning storm, thundershower or simply a storm is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder. The meteorologically assigned cloud type associated with the...

s are not rare in the south, but in the north they are very rare but do occur. Tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

es are extremely rare but have happened with the most notable one happening just outside of Yellowknife that destroyed a communications tower. The Territory has a fairly dry climate due to the mountains in the west.

About half of the territory is above the tree line. There are no trees in most of the eastern areas of the territory, or the north islands.


The NWT is one of two jurisdictions in Canada, Nunavut is the other, where Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

 are in the majority with 50.3% of the population.

According to the 2006 Canadian census the 10 major ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s were:
  • North American Indian
    First Nations
    First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

     – 36.5%
  • English
    English Canadian
    An English Canadian is a Canadian of English ancestry; it is used primarily in contrast with French Canadian. Canada is an officially bilingual state, with English and French official language communities. Immigrant cultural groups ostensibly integrate into one or both of these communities, but...

     – 17.2%
  • Canadian – 14.7%
  • Scottish
    Scottish Canadian
    Scottish Canadians are people of Scottish descent or heritage living in Canada. As the third-largest ethnic group in Canada and among the first to settle in Canada, Scottish people have made a large impact on Canadian culture since colonial times...

     – 14.3%
  • Irish
    Irish Canadian
    Irish Canadian are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who originated in Ireland. 1.2 million Irish immigrants arrived, 1825 to 1970, at least half of those in the period from 1831-1850. By 1867, they were the second largest ethnic group , and comprised 24% of Canada's population...

     – 11.8%
  • Inuit
    The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

    The Inuvialuit or Western Canadian Inuit are Inuit people who live in the western Canadian Arctic region. They, like all other Inuit, are descendants of the Thule who migrated eastward from Alaska...

    ) – 11.1%
  • French
    French Canadian
    French Canadian or Francophone Canadian, , generally refers to the descendents of French colonists who arrived in New France in the 17th and 18th centuries...

     – 10.5%
  • German – 8.5%
  • Métis
    Métis people (Canada)
    The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

     – 6.9%
  • Ukrainian
    Ukrainian Canadian
    A Ukrainian Canadian is a person of Ukrainian descent or origin who was born in or immigrated to Canada. In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons residing in Canada of Ukrainian origin, making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group; and giving Canada the world's third-largest...

     – 3.5%

Population of the Northwest Territories since 1871
Year Population five-year
% change
% change
Rank among provinces
and territories
1871 48,000 n/a n/a 6
1881 56,446 n/a 17.6 7
1891 98,967 n/a 75.3 7
1901 20,129 n/a −79.7 11
1911 6,507 n/a −67.7 11
1921 8,143 n/a 25.1 10
1931 9,316 n/a 14.4 10
1941 12,028 n/a 29.1 10
1951 16,004 n/a 33.1 11
1956 19,313 20.7 n/a 11
1961 22,998 19.1 43.7 11
1966 28,738 25.0 48.8 11
1971 34,805 21.1 51.3 11
1976 42,610 22.4 48.3 11
1981 45,740 7.3 31.4 11
1986 52,235 14.2 22.6 11
1991 57,649 10.3 26.0 11
1996 64,402 11.7 23.2 11
2001 37,360 −42.0 −35.2 11
2006 41,464 12.0 −35.0 11

1.Yukon was ceded from the Northwest Territories in 1898.
2.Alberta and Saskatchewan were created from parts of the Northwest Territories in 1905.
3.Data through 1996 includes Nunavut. 2001 data does not include Nunavut.
4.2006 census data.


The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the 2001 census were Roman Catholic with 16,940 (46.7%); the Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Church of Canada is the Province of the Anglican Communion in Canada. The official French name is l'Église Anglicane du Canada. The ACC is the third largest church in Canada after the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, consisting of 800,000 registered members...

 with 5,510 (14.9%); and the United Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada is a Protestant Christian denomination in Canada. It is the largest Protestant church and, after the Roman Catholic Church, the second-largest Christian church in Canada...

 with 2,230 (6.0%), while a total of 6,465 (17.4%) people stated no religion.


French was made an official language in 1877 by the territorial government. After a lengthy and bitter debate resulting from a speech from the throne
Speech from the Throne
A speech from the throne is an event in certain monarchies in which the reigning sovereign reads a prepared speech to a complete session of parliament, outlining the government's agenda for the coming session...

 in 1888 by Lieutenant Governor Joseph Royal
Joseph Royal
Joseph Royal was a Canadian journalist, lawyer, politician, businessman, and Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories.-Early life and career:...

 the members of the day voted on more than one occasion to nullify and make English the only language used in the assembly. After some conflict with Ottawa and a decisive vote on January 19, 1892, the assembly members voted for an English-only territory.

In the early 1980s, the federal government pressured the government of the Northwest Territories to reintroduce French as an official language. Some Native members walked out of the assembly, protesting that they were not permitted to speak their own language. The executive council appointed a special committee to study the matter, which decided that if French was to be an official language, then the other languages in the territories must also be allowed.

The Northwest Territories' Official Languages Act recognizes the following eleven official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

s, which are more than in any other political division in the Americas:

  • Chipewyan
  • Cree
    Cree language
    Cree is an Algonquian language spoken by approximately 117,000 people across Canada, from the Northwest Territories and Alberta to Labrador, making it the aboriginal language with the highest number of speakers in Canada. It is also spoken in the U.S. state of Montana...

  • English
    Canadian English
    Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

  • French
    Canadian French
    Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

  • Gwich’in
    Gwich’in language
    The Gwich’in language is the Athabaskan language of the Gwich’in indigenous people. It is also known in older or dialect-specific publications as Kutchin, Takudh, Tukudh, or Loucheux. In the Northwest Territories and Yukon of Canada, it is used principally in the towns of Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort...

  • Inuinnaqtun
    Inuinnaqtun , is an indigenous Inuit language of Canada and a dialect of Inuvialuktun. It is related very closely to Inuktitut, and some scholars, such as Richard Condon, believe that Inuinnaqtun is more appropriately classified as a dialect of Inuktitut...

  • Inuktitut
    Inuktitut or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, Eastern Canadian Inuit language is the name of some of the Inuit languages spoken in Canada...

  • Inuvialuktun
    Inuvialuktun, or Western Canadian Inuit language, Western Canadian Inuktitut, Western Canadian Inuktun comprises three Inuit dialects spoken in the northern Northwest Territories by those Canadian Inuit who call themselves Inuvialuk .Inuvialuktun is spoken by the Inuit of the Mackenzie River delta...

  • North Slavey
    Slavey language
    Slavey is an Athabaskan language spoken among the Slavey First Nations of Canada in the Northwest Territories where it also has official status....

  • South Slavey
    Slavey language
    Slavey is an Athabaskan language spoken among the Slavey First Nations of Canada in the Northwest Territories where it also has official status....

  • Tłįchǫ
    Dogrib language
    Dogrib, the English translation of the indigenous name ' , is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken by the First Nations Tłı̨chǫ people of the Canadian territory Northwest Territories...

NWT residents have a right to use any of the above languages in a territorial court and in debates and proceedings of the legislature. However, laws are legally binding only in their French and English versions, and the NWT government only publishes laws and other documents in the territory's other official languages when the legislature asks it to. Furthermore, access to services in any language is limited to institutions and circumstances where there is significant demand for that language or where it is reasonable to expect it given the nature of the services requested. In practical terms, English language services are universally available, and there is no guarantee that other languages, including French, will be used by any particular government service except for the courts.

The 2006 census returns showed a population of 41,464. Of the 40,680 singular responses to the census question regarding inhabitants "mother tongue", the most reported languages were the following:
1 English 31,545 77.5%
2 Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) 1,950 4.8%
3 South Slavey 1,285 3.2%
4 French 975 2.4%
5 North Slavey 835 2.1%
6 Inuktitut 695 1.7%
7 Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

505 1.2%
8 Chipewyan 390 1.0%
9 Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

305 0.8%
10 Chinese 260 0.6%
11= Cree 190 0.5%
11= Gwich'in 190 0.5%
13 Inuinnaqtun 55 0.1%

There were also 320 responses of both English and a "non-official language"; 15 of both French and a "non-official language"; 45 of both English and French, and about 400 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave some other un-enumeratable response. The Northwest Territories' official languages are shown in bold.

(Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses)


As of 2010 there are 33 official communities in the NWT. These range in size from Yellowknife with a population of 18,700 to Kakisa with 52 people. Governance of each community differs, some are run under various types of First Nations control, while others are designated as a city, town, village or hamlet, but most communities are municipal corporations
Municipal government in Canada
A municipal government in Canada is a local council authority which provides local services, facilities, safety and infrastructure for communities. Canada has three levels of government; federal, provincial and municipal. According to Section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, "In each Province the...

. Yellowknife is the largest community and has the largest number of Aboriginal peoples, 4,105 (22.2%) people. However, Behchoko, with a population of 1,894, is the largest First Nations community, 1,730 (91.5%), and Inuvik with 3,484 people is the largest Inuvialuit community, 1,335 (38.9%). There is one Indian reserve
Indian reserve
In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

 in the NWT, Hay River Reserve
Hay River Reserve
Hay River Reserve is the only Indian reserve in Canada's Northwest Territories. Located in the South Slave Region, it is a Slavey community with a population of 309 as of the 2006 census. The main languages on the reserve are South Slavey, Chipewyan and English...

, located on the south shore of the Hay River
Hay River (Canada)
Hay River is a large river in northern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, Canada.It originates in the muskeg of north western Alberta, flows west to British Columbia, then returns to Alberta, where it follows a northern course towards the Northwest Territories, where it discharges in the...

Five largest municipalities by population
Municipality 2006
Yellowknife 18,700
Hay River
Hay River, Northwest Territories
Hay River , known as "the Hub of the North," is a town in the Northwest Territories, Canada, located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, at the mouth of the Hay River. The town is separated into two sections, a new town and an old town with the Hay River Airport between them...

Inuvik 3,484
Fort Smith
Fort Smith, Northwest Territories
Fort Smith is a town in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is located in the southeastern portion of the Northwest Territories, on the Slave River and adjacent to the NWT/Alberta border.-History:Fort Smith's history began because of the Slave River and the vital link...

Behchoko 1,894


The NWT's geological resources include gold, diamonds, natural gas and petroleum. BP is the only oil company currently producing oil in the Territory. NWT diamonds are promoted as an alternative to purchasing blood diamonds. Two of the biggest mineral resource companies in the world, BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton is a global mining, oil and gas company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and with a major management office in London, United Kingdom...

 and Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto Group
The Rio Tinto Group is a diversified, British-Australian, multinational mining and resources group with headquarters in London and Melbourne. The company was founded in 1873, when a multinational consortium of investors purchased a mine complex on the Rio Tinto river, in Huelva, Spain from the...

 mine many of their diamonds from the NWT. In 2010, NWT accounted for 28.5% of Rio Tinto's total diamond production (3.9 million carats, 17% more than in 2009, from the Diavik Diamond Mine
Diavik Diamond Mine
The Diavik Diamond Mine is a diamond mine in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, about north of Yellowknife.It has become an important part of the regional economy, employing 700, grossing C$100 million in sales, and producing 8 million carats of diamonds annually...

) and 100% of BHP's (3.05 million carats from the EKATI mine
Ekati Diamond Mine
The EKATI Diamond Mine is Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located north-east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and about south of the Arctic circle, near Lac de Gras. EKATI is a joint venture between BHP Billiton Canada Inc...


The Northwest Territories has the highest per capita GDP of all provinces or territories in Canada, C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

76,000 in 2009.

Major territorial mines

  • Eldorado Mine
    Eldorado Mine
    Eldorado Mine is located at Port Radium, Northwest Territories, Canada.It is also known as Port Radium, a name adopted for use at this specific site after 1942...

     – 1933–1940, 1942–1960, 1976–1982 (radium
    Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

    , uranium
    Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

    , silver, copper)
  • Con Mine
    Con Mine
    The Con Mine was a large gold mine located in the Northwest Territories, just south of Yellowknife. The property was staked by Cominco in September 1935 in response to the discovery of visible gold nearby. The advent of winter prevented any prospecting from being conducted, but work in the summer...

     – 1938–2003 (gold)
  • Negus Mine
    Negus Mine
    Negus Mine was a gold producer at Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, from 1939 to 1952. It produced 255,807 troy ounces of gold from 490,808 tons of ore milled. The underground workings were acquired by adjacent Con Mine in 1953 and were used for ventilation purposes until Con Mine closed...

     – 1939–1952 (gold)
  • Ptarmigan and Tom Mine
    Ptarmigan and Tom Mine
    The Ptarmigan and Tom Mine were gold producers located in the Northwest Territories, Canada at Yellowknife. The property was staked by prospectors in 1936 and acquired by Cominco in 1938. The mine first produced between 1941-1942 but closed due to wartime restrictions. The old property was...

     – 1941–1942, 1986–1997 (gold)
  • Thompson-Lundmark Mine
    Thompson-Lundmark Mine
    The Thompson-Lundmark Mine was a gold producer from 1941-1943, and 1947-1949 near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Gold was discovered here in 1938 by Fred W. Thompson and Roy Lundmark; they staked 46 claims that were incorporated into the mine. Underground and shaft work began in 1939, and...

     – 1941–1943, 1947–1949 (gold)
  • Giant Mine
    Giant Mine
    The Giant Mine was a large gold mine located on the Ingraham Trail just outside ofYellowknife, Northwest Territories. Gold was discovered on the property in 1935 by Johnny Baker, but the true extent of the gold deposits were not known until 1944 when a massive gold-bearing shear zone was uncovered...

     – 1948–2004 (gold)
  • Discovery Mine
    Discovery Mine
    The Discovery Mine was a gold mine 81 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories that operated between 1950 and 1969. Gold was discovered here by Alfred Giauque in 1944....

     – 1950–1969 (gold)
  • Rayrock Mine
    Rayrock Mine
    The Rayrock Mine was a uranium producing venture in the Northwest Territories, Canada. It is located on the south side of Maryleer Lake and the north shore of Fault Lake, 169 kilometers northwest of Yellowknife and 74 kilometres northwest of Rae. Radioactive deposits were originally staked in 1948...

     – 1957–1959 (uranium)
  • Camlaren Mine
    Camlaren Mine
    The Camlaren Mine was a small Gold Mine 80 kilometres north-east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada at Gordon Lake. It consists of a property totaling about 981 hectares. The two claims that make up the property were staked in 1936 by prospectors Don Cameron and the Mclaren brothers and...

     – 1962–1963, 1980–1981 (gold)
  • Cantung Mine
    Cantung Mine
    Cantung Mine is a tungsten producer in the Nahanni area of the Northwest Territories, Canada, located northeast of Watson Lake in the Flat River Valley of the Selwyn Range close to the Yukon border. Tungsten was originally discovered in the area in 1954 by prospectors. Cantung Mine operated from...

     – 1962–1986, 2002–2003, 2005–current (tungsten
    Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

  • Echo Bay Mines Limited – 1964–1975 (silver and copper)
  • Pine Point Mine
    Pine Point Mine
    The Pine Point Mine is located west of Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories and east of Hay River, Northwest Territories, on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. Pine Point was a Mississippi Valley type deposit. It produced lead and zinc ores from 1964 to 1988...

     – 1964–1988 (lead and zinc
    Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

  • Tundra Mine
    Tundra Mine
    The Tundra Mine was a gold producer in the Northwest Territories, Canada between 1964 and 1968, producing 104,476 troy ounces of gold from 187,714 tons of ore. A detailed history is provided in the link below...

     – 1964–1968 (gold)
  • Terra Mine – 1969–1985 (silver and copper)
  • Salmita Mine
    Salmita Mine
    The Salmita Mine was a gold producer in the Northwest Territories, Canada during 1983 to 1987. The deposit was first discovered in 1945 and underground exploration was carried out in 1951-1952. It was reactivated for exploration by Giant Yellowknife Mines Limited in 1975 and entered production in...

     – 1983–1987 (gold)
  • Colomac Mine
    Colomac Mine
    The Colomac Mine was an open pit gold mine in the Northwest Territories that operated between 1990–1992, and 1994-1997. It was operated by Peggy Witte, whose first company Neptune Resources Limited had little success in making a profitable operation. In 1994 the mine reopened by her other company,...

     – 1990–1992, 1994–1997 (gold)
  • Ekati Diamond Mine
    Ekati Diamond Mine
    The EKATI Diamond Mine is Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located north-east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and about south of the Arctic circle, near Lac de Gras. EKATI is a joint venture between BHP Billiton Canada Inc...

     – 1998–current (diamonds)
  • Diavik Diamond Mine
    Diavik Diamond Mine
    The Diavik Diamond Mine is a diamond mine in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, about north of Yellowknife.It has become an important part of the regional economy, employing 700, grossing C$100 million in sales, and producing 8 million carats of diamonds annually...

     – 2003–current (diamonds)
  • Snap Lake Diamond Mine
    Snap Lake Diamond Mine
    The Snap Lake Diamond Mine is located about northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and, according to De Beers, was their first mine outside Africa and Canada's first completely underground diamond mine....

     – 2007–current (diamonds)


As a territory, the NWT has fewer rights than the provinces. During his term, Premier Kakfwi pushed to have the federal government accord more rights to the territory, including having a greater share of the returns from the territory's natural resources go to the territory. Devolution of powers to the territory was an issue in the 20th general election
Northwest Territories general election, 2003
The Northwest Territories general election, 2003 was the 20th general election in the Canadian territory's history, conducted on November 24, 2003, to elect the 19 members of the Legislative Assembly.The election was called on October 27...

 in 2003, and has been ever since the territory began electing members in 1881.

The commissioner of the NWT is the chief executive and is appointed by the Governor-in-Council of Canada on the recommendation of the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. The position used to be more administrative and governmental, but with the devolution of more powers to the elected assembly since 1967, the position has become symbolic. Since 1985 the commissioner no longer chairs meetings of the Executive Council (or cabinet), and the federal government has instructed commissioners to behave like a provincial lieutenant governor
Lieutenant Governor (Canada)
In Canada, a lieutenant governor is the viceregal representative in a provincial jurisdiction of the Canadian monarch and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, who resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United Kingdom...

. Unlike lieutenant governors, the commissioner of the Northwest Territories is not a formal representative of the Queen of Canada. The NWT comprises of a single Senate division
Canadian Senate divisions
Canadian Senate divisions refers to two things. First, to the four regional Senate divisions of 24 senators as set out in the Constitution of Canada Canadian Senate divisions refers to two things. First, to the four regional Senate divisions of 24 senators as set out in the Constitution of Canada...

 and House of Commons electoral district
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

 in the Parliament of Canada
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

 titled Western Arctic
Western Arctic
Western Arctic is a federal electoral district and senate division in Northwest Territories, Canada, that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1979....


Unlike provincial governments and the Yukon, the government of the Northwest Territories does not have political parties, except for the period between 1898 and 1905. It is a consensus government
Consensus government
Consensus government is a form of consensus democracy government in Canada in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, as well as Nunatsiavut, an autonomous area in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador....

 called the Legislative Assembly. This group is composed of one member elected from each of the nineteen constituencies. After each general election, the new parliament elects the premier and the speaker by secret ballot. Seven MLAs are also chosen as cabinet ministers, with the remainder forming the opposition. The territory's most recent general election
Northwest Territories general election, 2007
The 2007 Northwest Territories general election took place on October 1, 2007. It was the 21st in the history of the territory. Nineteen members were elected to the Legislative Assembly from single member districts conducted under first-past-the-post voting system.The election was called on...

 was on October 1, 2007. The head of state for the territories is a Commissioner appointed by the federal government. The Commissioner had full governmental powers until 1980 when the territories were given greater self government. The legislature then began electing a cabinet and Government Leader later known as the Premier
Premier (Canada)
In Canada, a premier is the head of government of a province or territory. There are currently ten provincial premiers and three territorial premiers in Canada....


The current Legislative Assembly
17th Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly
The 17th Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly will be established by the results of the 2011 Northwest Territories general election on October 3, 2011. It will be the 25th sitting of the Assembly in the territories history...

 is the 17th and the most recent election
Northwest Territories general election, 2011
The 2011 Northwest Territories general election, the 22nd in its history, took place on October 3, 2011. Nineteen members were returned to the 17th Legislative Assembly from single member districts conducted under first-past-the-post voting system....

 was held October 3, 2011. The Premier
Premier of the Northwest Territories
The Premier of the Northwest Territories is the first minister for the Northwest Territories,Canada. He or she is the territory's head of government and de facto chief executive, although the powers of the office are considerably less than those of a provincial premier.Unlike provincial premiers,...

 is Bob McLeod
Bob McLeod (politician)
Bob McLeod is a Canadian politician. He is currently a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, and currently the 12th Premier of the Northwest Territories having held that position since October 26, 2011.-Early life:...

. The member of Parliament for Western Arctic
Western Arctic
Western Arctic is a federal electoral district and senate division in Northwest Territories, Canada, that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1979....

, the riding that comprises the Northwest Territories, is Dennis Bevington
Dennis Bevington
Dennis Fraser Bevington is a politician from the Northwest Territories, Canada. Born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories he served as mayor of that town of 2,500 from 1988 to 1997. As mayor he made the town quadrilingual, recognizing Chipewyan and Cree as official languages.He is also a...

 (New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

). The Commissioner of the Northwest Territories is George Tuccaro
George Tuccaro
George Tuccaro is the current Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. He has served in that position since his appointment on May 12, 2010.- Biography :George Tuccaro was born on May 12, 1950 in northern Alberta...

 and the Deputy Commissioner is Margaret Thom
Margaret Thom
Margaret Thom is the current Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories Canada.She was appointed June 2, 2005.-External links:*...



Aboriginal issues in the Northwest Territories include the fate of the Dene
The Dene are an aboriginal group of First Nations who live in the northern boreal and Arctic regions of Canada. The Dené speak Northern Athabaskan languages. Dene is the common Athabaskan word for "people" . The term "Dene" has two usages...

 who, in the 1940s, were employed to carry radioactive uranium ore from the mines on Great Bear Lake. Of the thirty plus miners who worked at the Port Radium
Port Radium, Northwest Territories
Port Radium is a mining area on the eastern shore of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. It included the settlement of Cameron Bay and the Eldorado Mine and Echo Bay Mine. The name Port Radium did not come into use until 1936 and at the time it was in reference to the region as a whole...

 site, at least fourteen have died due to various forms of cancer. A study was done in the community of Deline, called A Village of Widows by Cindy Kenny-Gilday, which indicated that the number of people involved were too small to be able to confirm or deny a link.

There has been racial tension based on a history of violent conflict between the Dene and the Inuit
Bloody Falls Massacre
The Massacre at Bloody Falls was an incident that took place during Samuel Hearne's exploration of the Coppermine River on 17 July 1771. Chipewyan and "Copper Indian" Dene men led by Hearne's guide and companion Matonabbee attacked a group of Copper Inuit camped by rapids approximately upstream...

, who have now taken recent steps towards reconciliation.

Land claims in the NWT culminated with the creation of the Inuit homeland of Nunavut, the result of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is a 1993 land claims agreement between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and the Government of Canada subject to the Constitution Act of 1982...

, the largest land claim in Canadian history.

Another land claims agreement with the Tłı̨chǫ people created a region within the NWT called Tli Cho
Tlicho Government
The Tlicho Government is a First Nations organization representing the Tli Cho people of the Northwest Territories, Canada.-Members:*Behchoko*Gameti*Wekweeti*Whatì-External links:*...

, between Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes, which will give the Tłı̨chǫ their own legislative bodies, taxes, resource royalties, and other affairs, though the NWT will still maintain control over such areas as health and education. This area includes two of Canada's three diamond mines at Ekati and Diavik.

See also

Further reading

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External links

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