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Committed to economic development.

By Yvonne Irene Gladue

Windspeaker Staff Writer


The Acho Dene Koe people of Fort Liard, N.W.T added one more venture to their list of economic development activities under their control. Deh Cho Air celebrated the inaugural flight of its new aircraft, a Navajo Chief-tain, on March 18 with a flight from Fort Liard to Fort Nelson B.C. carrying passengers from the community.

Fort Liard Band Chief Harry Denron believes that "the airline is a good investment for the band, given the importance of air transportation to the North."

At the centre of ongoing oil, gas and forestry activity, the Fort Liard area is currently enjoying a boom in its renewable and non-renewable resources, such as logging and oil and gas.

Whether the need is for accommodation, camp set-up, air flights, drilling, or camp catering, the place to look is to the Acho Dene Koe, at the forefront of business development in the Fort Liard area for a number of years. According to a press release from the band office, the community is "ready to enter the 21st century" secure in its ability to do business and to remain strong in its traditions and culture.

The community of Fort Liard is located in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. It is 25 km north of the British Columbia border. Highway 7 provides year-round access to the community. On a good gravel road, the community is a two-hour drive away from Fort Nelson B.C. and a three-hour drive east to Fort Simpson, N.W.T. There is a charter flight daily from the community.

The Acho Dene Koe people have called the Fort Liard area home for generations. The main language used among the Elders is South Slavey. Traditional hunting, trapping and birch bark craft-making are just some of the local cultural activities being practiced today. The community has one health care centre, a community college, an arena, a motel and a general store. It also has a Native arts and crafts store, a cafe, a Northern Store, and a public school. Nahanni Butte, Trout Lake, Jean Marie River, Rigley, and Fort Simpson make up the Fort Liard region.

Through careful planning the band's employment for the Acho Dene Koe area has risen dramatically in the last year, employing as many as 200 people during the busy season from December to March.

"The chief and council have a vision as to where they want to take their people, and they are doing a good job," said Shane Parish, the general manager of the Liard Valley Band Development Corporation.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
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Author:Gladue, Yvonne Irene
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:May 1, 1999
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