Dene Laws

The Dene of the Deh Cho have always lived according to the Dene Laws, they are an important part of the Dene History and Traditions.

Share what you have

This is the umbrella law; under it sits all the other laws. It was absolute importance that people share what they had long ago, just for survival. Share all the big game you kill. Share fish if you catch more than you need for yourself and there are others who don’t have any.

Help each other

Help elders cut their wood and other heavy work. Help sick people who are in need; get them firewood if they need it. Visit them and give them food. When you lose someone in death, share your sorrows with the relatives who are also affected by the loss. Help out widows as much as possible and take care of orphaned children.

Love each other as much as possible

Treat each other as brother and sister, as though you are related. Help each other and don’t harm anyone.

Be respectful of elders & everything around you

Don’t run around when elders are eating; sit down until they are finished.

Pass on the teaching

Elders are to tell stories about the past everyday. In this way, you people learn to distinguish between good and acceptable behavior and when they are older, they will become the storytellers who will keep the circle strong of life going.

Be happy at all times

The creator has given you a great gift – Mother Earth. Take care of her and she will always give you food and shelter. Don’t worry – Just go about your work and make the best of everything. Don’t judge people, find something good in everyone.

Sleep at nights and work during the day

Don’t run around and laugh loudly when it gets dark. Everyone should sleep when darkness falls.

Be polite and don’t argue with anyone

Don’t harm anyone with your voice or your actions. Don’t hurt anyone with your medicine power. Don’t show your anger.

Young girls and boys should behave respectfully

Don’t make fun of each other, especially in matters of sex. Don’t make fun of older men and women. Be polite to each other.