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The Peoples, Their Places

The Slavey (Dene Tha') Nation: Rites of Passage

[Dene Tha' First Nation Profile]


The Slavey used storytelling to teach their young lessons about the creation of the world, and understanding animals and their powers.  Young women were isolated during menses, as were the Beaver women.  A youth who wanted to marry would be required to pay for his bride by hunting for his parents-in-law for a year, and "men wrestled occasionally for each other's wives."

The Slavey, unlike some other Athapaskan groups, did not abandon their elderly or infirm, but "carried them about with them, even when it entailed considerable hardship on the family and band."  For burying their dead, they placed the deceased relatives on a scaffold or covered them and their belongings with leaves and brush and built small huts over the remains to protect them from scavenging animals.

Reprinted from "A Sense of the Peace," by Roberta Hursey with permission of the Spirit of the Peace Museums Association and the author.