Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Dene / Beliefs & Customs

Article: Circle of Belonging

The Denes¶øiné believe that everything evolves. The family is the center part of a circle and from there the people embrace the rest of the world. A family belongs to a group and the group belongs to the land. The Dene used to name their clan after the land on which they lived, for example the group of Dene people to the northeast of Saskatchewan are called "sayizi" because they dwell in the area where a strong cool wind derives. The concept of "the land" is not mere land and soil but all those elements that envelope the world; the water, plants, animals and sky. All these elements are synthesis of the complex whole. Nature and the Dene people are as one. They have depended on one another for centuries and one change can affect the balance of a whole.