Gyųų Dazhoo Njik OR Gyuu Dazhoo Njik

24. Gyųų Dazhoo Njik OR Gyuu Dazhoo Njik

Official Name: 
Snake River
This place name refers to a river which flows into the Peel River.
Literal translation: 
Gyųų/Gyuu= worm, Dazhoo= hairy, Njik= river

This Gwich’in place name is associated with a legendary story. During the early days of the land, a giant hairy worm (snake) came out of the ocean, travelled up the Mackenzie River and into the Peel River. Because of its desire to go into the mountains, it swallowed large boulders as it travelled and created the Snake River. The snake is believed to have either gone inside a lake beside the river or into the mountain near the headwaters of the river, where it remains to this day. According to Gwichya Gwich’in elder Tony Andre, this river is considered so treacherous to cross in the winter because of the variation in ice thickness, that people should only cross where there are moose trails!