Norwegian - Fort Simpson Band Chief)
"Legend tells us that Ndambadezha (Yamonja)
was a spiritual person who travelled this great
land. Umoria means the man who walked
the great shore because this was all water
a long time ago. During the Ice Age, it was
never touched by ice. It was a gorge, where
it was almost like a Garden of Eden. And the
Naha, they lived there for hundreds of years,
and from there, they became a great tribe."
For thousands of years the
Dene people have used this land in spite of
the forbidding terrain and unpredictable weather.
They learned to find shelter from sudden rains,
climb above flash floods and wait out early
snows. The Naha were the Dene tribe who claimed
the Mackenzie Mountains as their territory.
They were nomadic within their territory, using
different parts of the mountains and valleys
according to the season. And they were fierce
warriors, unhesitating in their attack upon
anyone who camped within their boundaries and
"They were raiders. They
came down the great rivers and they took advantage
of whoever was living there. It came to a point
where the people in the flats and lowlands couldn't
put up with the continuous raiding every year,
so finally the elders got together and said
we got to put a stop to this. They
were on top of the mountain and they knew the
Nahande people were down there and they attacked.
To their great surprise, they found out that
in these teepees, around the campfire, that
there wasn't anybody around."
In some versions of the story,
the Naha were tracked down and killed, in others
the warriors simply disappeared. Anthropologists
have recently discovered surprising similarities
in legend between the lost tribe of the Naha
and the Navajo of the American southwest. In
fact, Slavey Dene visiting Arizona have found
they can converse quite comfortably with the
Navajo, perhaps the descendants of their enemies
from long ago.