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Exhibit Opening: Special Constables in the NWT

YELLOWKNIFE (August 4, 2017) – A new exhibit opened yesterday at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre to recognize and celebrate Indigenous Northerners’ contributions as they worked hand-in-hand with the RCMP in the early days of the Northwest Territories.

Presented as a Canada 150 event, the exhibit is a collaborative effort between the Government of the Northwest Territories, the RCMP and the people of the Northwest Territories who contributed their stories.

The “We Took Care of Them: Special Constables in the NWT” exhibit honours the Special Constables who worked with the RCMP, as well as the seamstresses, guides and interpreters who shared their invaluable skills and knowledge that often made the difference between life and death.

The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to continuing efforts to support the preservation, portrayal and promotion of the heritage of the NWT.


“This is an important story that needs to be told about Indigenous people of the NWT working side by side with the RCMP in the early days. Telling this story strengthens the important relationship between today’s RCMP and the communities they work with”.
Louis Sebert, Minister of Justice

“I’d like to encourage all the former RCMP Special Constables, guides, interpreters, seamstresses and their families within the Northwest Territories to share their experiences with us through these exhibits. By documenting, sharing and celebrating their unique contributions, we help our residents reclaim the territory’s history as their own.”
Alfred Moses, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

“The contribution of Special Constables and their spouses and families is an important chapter in the history of the RCMP and the Northwest Territories.  Without the support of Indigenous Northerners, our members stood little chance of survival or success.  I am delighted to see this story told.”
Dan Dubeau, RCMP Acting Commissioner

Quick Facts:

  • Over the past three years, small teams of researchers visited with families and Special Constables throughout the NWT to collect and record their memories. These stories are woven into the exhibit.
  • The stories collected will be used to inform six travelling exhibits, created with support from Canadian Heritage, that will be used by the RCMP as they work in communities.
  • A web-based interactive exhibit will also be launched to showcase the unique contributions the people of the Northwest Territories have made in supporting one of Canada’s foremost national institutions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, later this year.

Related Links:

Department of Justice
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Canada 150
Canadian Heritage

Media Contact:

Charlotte Digness
Media and Communications Coordinator
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories
Ph: (867) 767-9140 ext. 11092

Arts Council logo

NWT Arts Council Call for Projects

NWT Arts Council Funding Applications

Call for projects to be conducted in 2017-18

To apply online or to download an application form:

Funding is available for artists or territorial organizations who are producing specific artistic works, projects or events in the Northwest Territories between April 2017 and March 2018.

Closing Date: February 28, 2017.

For more information, please contact us at the GNWT Arts Industry Toll Free Line 1-877-445-2787, ext. 3 or by e-mail:

Demandes de subvention du Conseil des arts des TNO

Appel de projets pour 2017-2018

Pour présenter une demande en ligne ou pour télécharger le formulaire, consultez le

Les artistes ou les organismes ténois qui souhaitent réaliser une oeuvre, un projet ou un évènement artistique particulier entre avril 2017 et avril 2018 peuvent obtenir une subvention.

Date limite : Le 28 février 2017

Pour de plus amples renseignements, communiquez avec l’industrie de l’art du GTNO en composant sans frais le 1-877-445-2787, poste 3 ou en écrivant un courriel à :


New Research Publications

In 2016, the Cultural Places Program contributed significantly to the following new research publications:

Bison phylogeography constrains dispersal and viability of the Ice Free Corridor in western Canada

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (29), pp. 8057–8063

The Ice Free Corridor has been invoked as a route for Pleistocene human and animal dispersals between eastern Beringia and more southerly areas of North America. Despite the significance of the corridor, there are limited data for when and how this corridor was used. Hypothetical uses of the corridor include: the first expansion of humans from Beringia into the Americas, northward postglacial expansions of fluted point technologies into Beringia, and continued use of the corridor as a contact route between the north and south. Here, we use radiocarbon dates and ancient mitochondrial DNA from late Pleistocene bison fossils to determine the chronology for when the corridor was open and viable for biotic dispersals. The corridor was closed after ∼23,000 until 13,400 calendar years ago (cal y BP), after which we find the first evidence, to our knowledge, that bison used this route to disperse from the south, and by 13,000 y from the north. Our chronology supports a habitable and traversable corridor by at least 13,000 cal y BP, just before the first appearance of Clovis technology in interior North America, and indicates that the corridor would not have been available for significantly earlier southward human dispersal. Following the opening of the corridor, multiple dispersals of human groups between Beringia and interior North America may have continued throughout the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. Our results highlight the utility of phylogeographic analyses to test hypotheses about paleoecological history and the viability of dispersal routes over time.

The Precontact History of Subarctic Northwest Canada

In The Oxford Handbook of the Prehistoric Arctic. Friesen, Max; Mason, Owen (Ed.): 2016.

This chapter provides an overview of precontact hunter-gatherer land use in the Subarctic region of northwest Canada. The earliest evidence of human presence in this region is found in the unglaciated areas of Yukon Territory at Bluefish Caves and the Little John Site. The role of an ice-free corridor in the Mackenzie Valley in the dispersal of early peoples remains unclear. Caribou-hunting strategies are used as a theme to explore regional histories between 7,000 B.P. and the beginning of the historic period. Migratory tundra caribou were a focal resource for many hunter-gatherer societies in this region. The emerging archaeological record of alpine ice patches provides a unique view of hunter-gatherer land use in alpine regions. The archaeological record of the Mackenzie Valley is one of the poorest known in all of North America. Throughout, the chapter highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the Subarctic archaeological record for interpreting precontact land use.

Tertiary Hills Clinker in Alberta: A partially fused vesicular toolstone from the Mackenzie Basin of Northwest Territories, Canada

Back on the horse: Recent developments in archaeological and palaeontological research in Alberta, Archaeological Survey of Alberta, 2016.

This article is the first in the Alberta Lithic Reference Project series, the goal of which is to assist the identification of raw materials used for pre-contact stone tools in the province. Each article focuses on one raw material; the current article discusses a partially fused, glassy, vesicular rock that originates in Northwest Territories called Tertiary Hills Clinker (THC). THC appears in archaeological sites in northern and central Alberta. A suite of techniques indicates that it can be geochemically sourced much like obsidian. The accurate identification of THC can reveal significant relationships between occupants of Alberta and the Mackenzie Basin to the north.