Researcher Biography

The creation of this website originated from an interest I had in the Dene Games and why these games were played and how they evolved. The Dene Games exemplifies the true spirit and longevity of Dene people and is a medium of Dene traditions and lifestyles from generations ago.

I came to Rae-Edzo, Northwest Territories in August 2000 from the other end of our beautiful country, all the way from Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland. Growing up in a small rural fishing community on the southwest coast of Newfoundland I was always interested in the culture and the traditions of my own heritage. At my new school, Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School, I got a first hand experience of what life was like for the Dogrib people during the annual Barrenland hunt and cultural orientation. During this trip I took part in hunting, skinning and packing caribou back to camp, eating traditional foods like bannock and dry-meat and in the evenings we would listen to the Dogrib Elders tell their stories of their experiences. It was during this trip I realized that I wanted to help in the preservation of the Dogrib culture. As you can see from the picture I have included I really enjoy my adventures out on the land whether it is hunting caribou, fishing, duck hunting or a snowmobile ride with my little girl, Emma, the experiences I have gained are priceless.

During the next year I often reflected and how I could promote the Dogrib culture in my physical education class and it wasn’t until the beginning of my second year that I begun this enlightening journey. It was during this time I became aware of a curriculum called Dene Kede. The Dene Kede curriculum focuses around the education of our students through the framework of traditional knowledge and practices. Since my position was of a physical education teacher I had to develop from the Dene Kede a program that offered students a cultural experience. This I found in a manual written by Dr. Mike Heine and it was called the Dene Games. This research manual enabled me to promote the culture of the Dogrib people and still reach the intended outcomes of the Dene Kede curriculum.

Now, after teaching many of these Dene Games at my school I had the opportunity to coach 4 young women at the Arctic Winter Games in Ft. McMurray in March of 2004. During this experience I lived and participated in the Dene culture for 6 wonderful days and watched four young Dogrib youth excel and learn about their unique traditions. It was after this time I wanted to give something back to my community, school and more importantly the youth. With that came the concept of a Dene Games website that could be used by teachers, parents and youth to explore and learn about the games.

I hope you enjoy your experience. Masi cho.

Darren-Marian Falls, June 2005

Marian Falls, June 2005.