ALLAN HAYTON PHOTO
Vadzaih vatthai’ videeghan vananh datthak Gwich’in naii tthak giinanh gaadandaii i’. Vadzaih zhit gwiraah’in dai’, vadzaih narah’aa dai’, gwiizhih zhrih nilii i’. Gwandak chan vizhik, ch’oozhri’, diitsii naii govoozhri’, yeenaa gwilii t’igeeya’, vaa adanagwiraazhii, gwitr’it gwadal, ts’ą’ gwach’aa naraazhii. Jii datthak gaakhwaahandaii ji’, diiginjik adeedoontan ji’ gwizhrih gaakhwandaii o’, diiginjik, diigwitr’it, zhik t’eedaraa’in datthak gwigwiizhih haa t’inch’yaa.
The body of the caribou is a microcosm of Gwich'in culture. When you look inside the animal, when you start butchering and processing, there is a whole new world waiting. There you will find our stories, our personal names and family names, our ceremonies, our games and toys, and the raw materials for making our traditional tools and clothing. But to really understand all these things, you need to study our language, because our language, our culture, and our subsistence way of life are all closely intertwined.