Fort McPherson

North West Territories


Fort McPherson (pronounced Fort McFURson), is also called Teet'lit Zhe, which in the Gwich’in language means: at the head of the waters. This is a small hamlet of approximately 800 people located on the east bank of the Peel River, in Teetl'it Gwich’in territory, in the Northwest Territories .

The Gwich’in have traditionally used and occupied lands in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon from time immemorial. In July 1921, Chiefs and headmen representing the Loucheux (as they were then called) of Arctic Red River (now Tsiigehtchic) and Fort McPherson signed Treaty 11 with King George V (the Crown), creating a special nation-to-nation relationship. The Gwich’in Tribal Council was established in 1992, to represent Gwich’in participants in the Mackenzie-Delta of the Northwest Territories and across Canada. The objectives are to:

  1. Protect and preserve the rights, interest and benefits of the Gwich’in in reference to their use, ownership and management of lands, waters, and resources in the Gwich’in Settlement Area;

  2. Retain, preserve and enhance the traditional and cultural values, customs and language of the Gwich’in in a changing society;

  3. Develop and promote economic, social, educational and cultural programs that will enable the Gwich’in to become self-sufficient and full participating members in a global society;

  4. Uphold the rights, interest and benefits of the Gwich’in in reference to the Constitution Act, Treaty 11 and the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement; and

  5. Receive, preserve and enhance the capital and the lands and other benefits transferred to the Gwich’in pursuant to the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement signed on April 22, 1992.

Fort McPherson is accessible by road from Dawson City and Whitehorse, from the Yukon side, and from Inuvik, NWT. This road is the famous Dempster Highway.If coming from Inuvik the Dempster Highway crosses the Mackenzie River at Tsiigehtchic, which is done by a ferry during warmer months and an ice bridge during winter months.

The two principal languages spoken are Gwich'in and English .

Originally the site of a Hudson's Bay Company post the community was named for Murdoch McPherson.


Gwich’in Tribal Council

Fort McPherson Films