Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Dene / Beliefs & Customs

Article: Religion

Most of the Dene people are Catholic converts. Today some are searching for their traditional roots and the old religion of their ancestors. It is very difficult because they will never retrieve the true religious practices of long ago when everything was pure and simple when it comes to religious practices and ceremonial rituals. The Dene people lived long ago in dream like states where shamans were utilized often. My grandfather Paul Disain use to tell a story about how the shamans were set against the religion of the white man, but they failed to convince the people, especially after long stretches of starvation and illnesses. It seems that the Dene people had begun to live a more sedentary lifestyle at the requests of Priests and Government so they could be monitored. In the process the men were no longer out hunting and trapping instead, the dependency on Government handouts begun.