Dene people did not travel as much as they once did when
they were a nomadic tribe and they depended on the caribou.
The forest was like the school of the people. When it
disappeared, it was difficult to teach their young the
traditional ways of the people. Soon Dene children were
sent away to residential schools where their language
and culture was attempted to be destroyed.
Dene people of Saskatchewan were separated from their
relations who now reside in the Northwest Territories,
Northern Alberta and Manitoba. "The boundaries were
established to weaken our culture", Paul Disain (1976).
To this day there are seven Dene reserves in Saskatchewan;
four in the Northwest of the Province and three to the
Northern tip of the province. First language is very important
to one's heritage and identity, because without the ability
to transfer knowledge in one's own language, the true
meaning becomes almost impossible and as the result, the
culture becomes weak. Today, the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural
Centre (SICC) works in co-operation with all First Nation’s
bands in the province to retrieve their languages. Our
elders have contributed much of their time toward this
endeavor. Education systems with strong Western values
and beliefs are failing Aboriginal people world wide,
mostly due to first language and culture loss. The Dene
people were always taught effectively in their own language,
and when a foreign language is introduced the lessons
are not as meaningful.