Tr’atr’aataii Tshik

23. Tr’atr’aataii Tshik

Walter and Robert Alexie's camp. Photo credit: Ingrid Kritsch, GSCI.
Official Name: 
Trail River
This place name refers to a river which flows from the Richardson Mountains into the Peel River between Caribou River and Road River.
Literal translation: 
Tr’atr’aataii = People’s trail, Tshik = at the mouth of

The Gwich’in had many trails throughout their lands. One of the oldest and most important traditional trails for the Teetł'it Gwich’in was Trail River which led to Caribou Mountain, and the Hungry Lake area where people hunted and trapped in the winter and to Dawson and Mayo. According to Teetł'it Gwich’in elders Walter and Robert Alexie who grew up in this area, people used to live at the mouth of Trail River and set their nets in a big eddy that is no longer here. Now it’s very shallow at the river mouth. Walter and Robert’s grandfather, Old Martin, had a fish camp at a small creek across from the mouth of Trail River. Many other people also lived in the Trail River area including Chief Julius who fished and trapped here and had a cabin from which he traded for the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the early 1900s, the Royal North West Mounted Police used this traditional trail as part of their dog team patrol route between Fort McPherson and Dawson. It was along this trail in the winter of 1910/1911 that one of the patrols became lost and met a tragic end, entering Canadian history as the Lost Patrol. Walter and Robert Alexie continue to have a camp in this area today.