In the past, there were no permanent communities in the north. Sambaa K’e Got’ı̨nę moved seasonally following golôâ. Everywhere they traveled on the land was considered home.
In the 1930s, Frank Tetcho built his first cabin across the river from the community when his father’s cabin became too old to use. Frank Tetcho and his father Charles Tetcho were the first people to move to where Sambaa K’e is located today.
In early mid 1960s, Sambaa K’e First Nation members began building houses at the present location. Later, other families joined and their children could attend school in the community. The first school, band office, and community hall was built in 1972.
On June 21, 2016, the community officially changed its name from “Trout Lake” to “Sambaa K’e”, its name in Dene Yatıe, meaning “place of trout”. The lake has a central importance to everything the community does. Visitors are asked to give an offering to the lake by throwing in a personal belonging (such as a piece of clothing, loose change or tobacco) as a sign of respect. Otherwise, storms will come with strong winds and rough waters for several days.
Sambaa K’e Got’ı̨nę have always traveled throughout Gondéhé. They have been present in this traditional territory for the longest time, beyond written records, and are connected to this place. All areas of the land have significance and contain important legends and, traditional hunting and trapping sites that have been used by Sambaa K’e Got’ı̨nę for generations. All these legends have to be told to the young people because each story will carry out a purpose in that person’s life.
“Our land is our place of learning, our library, our museum, our past and our future. It holds our stories in our place names and trails. We live from season to season, adjusting to the changes which come with spring, summer, fall and winter. Our life today in Sambaa K’e is different from our grandfathers and grandmothers. But our stories and our language keep us connected to all of our ancestors. Our land offered our ancestors a life of abundance. In return, our people were and still are the keepers of the lands and waters that sustain us. Our ancestors were also strong, independent people, as we are today.” – Chief Dolphus Jumbo
Dene Yatıe is the traditional language of the Sambaa K’e First Nation.
Language is key to cultural identity and well-being of the community. SKFN encourages programs that help young people learn and speak Dene Yatıe and support relationships with grandparents and elders to transfer Dene Yatıe.