Hehnjuu Deetł’yah Tshik

28. Hehnjuu Deetł’yah Tshik

Photo credit: Ingrid Kritsch, GSCI.
Official Name: 
Sainville River
This place name refers to the mouth of a creek located approximately 70 miles up the Arctic Red River.
Literal translation: 
Hehnjuu Deetł’yah = ts’iidęįį word, Tshik= at the mouth of

The Gwich’in name for this creek is so old, that the elders are no longer certain of it’s meaning. Up until the mid-1900s this was one of the main campsites for people travelling between the mountains and the Mackenzie River in the fall and spring. In the fall, people paddled and tracked their canoes from the Mackenzie River up the Arctic Red River to this river and then walked into the mountains with their dogs so they could hunt for sheep, moose and caribou during the winter. In the spring, people walked back to the river where they made moose skin boats to take them to the trading post at Arctic Red River and to their fish camps on the Mackenzie River. In the early 1900s, there were so many cabins and tents on both sides of the creek that it looked like a small town. Old Rami, a Gwich'in trader for the Hudson's Bay Company, had a small trading post here. Gwichya Gwich’in elder Hyacinthe Andre was born in this area on May 14, 1910.