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GNWT launches new-look NWT timeline

Chief Jimmy Bruneau is seen in an NWT Archives photo published to the GNWT's timeline website
Chief Jimmy Bruneau is seen in an NWT Archives photo published to the GNWT's timeline website. NWT Archives/Buffum family/N-1986-006-0245

The NWT government has produced what it says is an updated Northwest Territories historical timeline.

That timeline takes the form of a website that shares stories about the history of the territory, including a range of origin stories available in Indigenous languages.

In a news release, the territorial government said the timeline is intended to be an educational resource for schools and residents.

A working group of representatives from Indigenous governments provided feedback that informed the latest version of the timeline, the GNWT stated, and those representatives “will continue to be involved in updates and additions.”

The timeline stretches back 380 million years, to a time when the South Slave region was covered by a stretch of sea. Fish developed lobed fins – which evolved to become the arms and legs of animals today – and left fossilized tracks in the banks of the Hay River.



More recent history in the timeline, such as an entry for 2021, examines the likes of land remediation in the wake of pollution left by Giant Mine.

The territory says the new timeline is designed to emphasize the cultures and peoples that make up the Northwest Territories. It uses photos, documents and materials from the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and NWT Archives.

According to the timeline’s website, the timeline is “never intended to be complete.”

People are encouraged to send an email if they notice something is missing or have historical stories they would like to share.