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Elders Gather for First Gahcho Kué Fish Tasting since 2019

Press Release

Elders from six Indigenous communities gathered at the Ní Hadi Xa (NHX) traditional knowledge (TK) monitoring cabin for the first Gahcho Kué Mine fish tasting since the pandemic.

The cabin is located at Fletcher Lake, approximately 35 km northeast of the mine and 310 km northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The cabin was built to provide accommodation for two TK monitors who live on site for at least 12 weeks each year, during which they monitor the air, water, land and wildlife using their traditional knowledge of the area.

The fish tasting is the traditional knowledge component of the Gahcho Kué aquatic effects monitoring program (AEMP), and is held in partnership with NHX. Elders represented Deninu Kué First Nation, North Slave Métis Alliance, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Tłı̨chǫ̀ Government, Łutsel K’e Dene First Nation, and Yellowknives Dene First Nation. These Indigenous communities, together with Gahcho Kué Mine, have formed the NHX.

Lyndon Clark, General Manager of Gahcho Kué Mine, said: “It was fantastic to be able to bring everyone together so that we can continue to learn from the Elders. It is essential that the water remains safe to drink and the fish are safe to eat.”

Two elders travelled to the location the day before and caught 11 Lake Trout from nearby Kirk Lake, which downstream from the mine.

On August 9, participants were flown to the cabin where they examined the fish skin health and colour, and the condition of the internal organs and flesh to compare to the elders’ lifetime of experience living on the land. Portions of the fish were boiled in water so that elders could assess the taste of the fish.

CLICK HERE to see a video from the event.

The Elders’ comments are documented and reported a part of the mine’s annual Aquatic Effects Monitoring Report.

The remaining fish fillets were cooked on a fire and eaten with traditional Bannock and tea.

Members of the mine’s environmental team and fish specialists from WSP Golder, the mine’s environmental support contractor, and the Tlicho government  also participated in the event.

William Liu, Environment and Permitting Superintendent and the NHX Governance Committee member, said: “We are very grateful to the Elders for sharing their knowledge and helping us build our understanding of the environment close to the mine.”

The Elders expressed their appreciation to be able to participate and many commented about the importance of protecting the land, air, water and wildlife.

The fish tasting has been held regularly since 2016 but was not able to be held in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic.

Gahcho Kué Mine is located 280 km northeast of Yellowknife in the NWT. It is a joint venture between De Beers Group (the operator) and Mountain Province Diamonds.


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