Resources - Teachers' Guide Introduction




The Doig River First Nation is one of five Dane-zaa communities located in far northern British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. Dane-zaa speak an Athabascan language and we are related to other Athabascan groups in Canada and the United States, including the Navajo of the American Southwest and dozens of First Nations who live in northern Canada and neighboring Alaska. Dane-zaa have lived in our traditional homeland for thousands of years and, until 1952 when the reserve at Doig River was established, we lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle, traveling seasonally through the Peace River country of northern British Columbia and neighboring Alberta. Today, there are approximately 220 members of the Doig River First Nation, about half of who live on our reserve at Doig River. To find out more about Doig River visit About the Doig River First Nation.

You can also watch a video clip of a recent Dreamer's Dance held at Doig River.

The Website Project

Dane Wajich Dane-zaa Stories & Songs: Dreamers and the Land was developed by a project team that included community elders, youth, and leaders, who collaborated with anthropologists, linguists, folklorists, filmmakers, and web designers. The main components of our exhibit are described below. More detailed information, including sub-sections, is available under each section of our website which can be reached by following the links at the top of each page.

  • The Project
    • This part of the exhibit provides more information about the website project team, and our community goal of documenting and revitalizing our culture and language through the pairing of elders and youth and traditional knowledge with multi-media technology.
    • Lesson 1 : The Project
  • A Dreamer's Drum
    • In 2005, former Chief Gary Oker brought a special drum to one of the first project meetings. The drum, which had been kept in his family for many years, and was made by the Dreamer Gaayęą, inspired elders to talk about the importance of Dreamers to our Dane-zaa culture and, as a result, the Dreamer's drum became the touchstone for our project. However, because of the sacred nature of the Dreamer's drawings on this drum, our Doig River community has decided that it should not be portrayed on the Internet.
    • Lesson 2 : A Dreamers' Drum
  • Places
    • "Places" tells about our Doig River First Nation's traditional homeland and the places where we lived in the past, as well as our connection to our land today. You can also learn more here about our traditional Dane-zaa seasonal rounds. "Places" also tells the story of how Dane-zaa traditional culture was disrupted by the building of the Alaska Highway, oil and gas industrialization, and other activities in our traditional homeland. This part of our website also explains how our Dreamers prepared our Dane-zaa people to survive on our land and maintain our culture in spite of these rapid changes.
    • Lesson 3 : Places
  • Dreamers and the Land
    • "Dreamers and the Land," explains the role of Dreamers—the spiritual leaders who passed down stories, songs, and wisdom to our community.
    • By clicking on the Dreamers ring, you will be redirected to a Dreamers Circle that contains information (including songs and stories), about nineteen of our Dane-zaa Dreamers. Students and teachers can also download and print this list as a PDF so they can study it offline. Look for the link at the bottom of the page.
    • By clicking on the Land ring, you can learn how the connection between our spiritual traditions and our land continues to be central to our Dane-zaa culture.
    • "Dreamers and the Land" also tells about our Creation Story, our Dreamers' Dance and about our Doig River Drummers, who remember and "keep" the songs of our Dreamers and perform them at our Dreamers' Dances and community gatherings throughout the year.
    • Lesson 4 : Dreamers and the Land
  • Stories and Songs
    • For hundreds of years, our Dane-zaa culture has been handed down through oral traditions - both stories and songs.
    • "Stories and Songs" provides an introduction to our story and song traditions in the sections: About Dane-zaa Stories, and About Dane-zaa Songs.
    • Collections of all the video clips (stories) and songs displayed in this exhibit are presented in the sections: Collection of Stories and Collection of Songs.
    • Many of the stories are in Beaver, our Dane-zaa language. These stories have been translated into English and French, and the transcripts can be downloaded from the Collection of Stories page so that both teachers and students can read and study the stories offline.
    • Lesson 5 : Stories and Songs
  • Resources
    • This part of our website is divided into sections on Dane-zaa Culture and History, Language, Teachers' Resources, and a Glossary of Terms that are used on our site. Students can learn about local archaeology, take a Dane-zaa language lesson, and learn even more about our Dane-zaa history and culture.
    • The Language Page introduces you to our Dane-zaa language and links to interactive Beaver Language Lessons where students can both hear and read our Dane-zaa language.
    • The "Introduction to Conversational Beaver" has a number of excellent features that may initially be hard to find - so we are directing you to these features here: After clicking on the link at the bottom of the Language page you can either:

      a) Start the lesson by clicking the box at the bottom of the page (this will bring you to a Table of Contents with sections for vocabulary and phrases according to topics such as: greetings, conversations about the weather, classroom commands, action words etc.), or

      b) Listen and read about the sounds used in our language by clicking on the menu tab at the top left section of the page - and then clicking on "Pronunciation Guide."

    • On the Teachers' Resources page, you will find five elementary level, and five high school level lesson plans that correspond to the main sections of the website, as well as this Teachers' Guide.

Download the Teachers' Guide [PDF]


Continue to Lesson 1 : The Project