A Drum Marks the Spot

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It was all smiles Monday on the edge of the Arctic Circle as Fort Good Hope residents gathered to cut the ribbon on a truly unique and representative landmark for their region. 

An Arctic Drum now stands on the geographical edge of the Arctic Circle 37km outside of Fort Good Hope on the winter road to Colville Lake. The Sahtu is the only region in the Northwest Territories that intersects with the Arctic Circle by river and winter road.  

The monument, designed from an actual drum made by the grandson of Viviane Edgi-Manuel, measures almost 20 feet high and 20 feet across.  The base, drum and drumstick are fabricated from corten steel and coded with rusty patina to stand the test of time.

In a letter to Chief Daniel Masuzumi of the Kasho Got’ine Dene Band, the Premier congratulated the people of Fort Good Hope and the Sahtu region.

“More and more, we are showcasing our shared history and culture to the world,” she wrote.

“I applaud the decision to use the Dene drum at the intersection of the Arctic Circle and the NWT. The logistical planning, construction, shipping, and raising of the drum may have been a daunting task, but one well worth the effort. There is now a definitive, unmistakable Indigenous symbol that will be a draw for both Northerners and visitors.  Your innovation and collaboration with your partners have created a niche for your community and culture.”

Ne’Rahten Development Ltd., the business arm for the Sahtu’s Yamoga Land Corporation led the project commissioning Yellowknife’s Inkit to design and manufacture the sign. 

Funding for the project was received last summer from the Growth and Recovery by Investing in Tourism (GRIT) Fund.

Speaking on behalf of Minister Caroline Wawzonek, ITI’s Regional Superintendent for the Sahtu Marty Ann Bayha said she was excited to see another attraction for visitors to share in the unique history and culture of the Sahtu region.

“We hope the drum sign will be a beacon for travelers. We have so many unique and spectacular sights and activities, the drum is a noteworthy addition to our vast array of tourism opportunities,” she noted.

In support of the GNWT’s Mandate to Increase economic diversification by supporting growth in non-extractive sectors and setting regional diversification targets, ITI is working and investing to increase tourism in the NWT with a focus on increasing tourism outside of Yellowknife.