About the Author

Sarah Stewart

Sarah Stewart is a physiotherapist who lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Books by this Author
We Remember the Coming of the White Man

We Remember the Coming of the White Man

By Elizabeth Yakeleya, Sarah Simon and other Sahtú and Gwich’in Dene Elders
also available: Paperback
More Info

My dad found the oil in 1912. He was a pilot with Johnny Barens on the steamboat Distributor, that the Hudson Bay ran from Smith to Tuk. That is how he knew about white man’s ways. If he had lived it would have been recognized that he was the one who discovered the oil. But after it was shipped out he died and we never heard anything more about it.

In 1918 I was at school and Sister Mary spoke to me. “You know where your grandfather was living? That's where they are drilling for oil. Boys from Providence, Simpson, Resolution have come down by dog team to stake claims.”

We still had cabins there where we used to live some of the time. When the white trappers who used to go along the Mackenzie River asked my uncle to lend them one of those houses he always did. They would stay there for a year.

In the fall of 1924 when we went to our cabins everything was smashed. Nothing was left. I feel so bad about it. We thought the oil company might do something but they didn't. They say the white man found the oil but it's not true.

Elizabeth Yakeleya

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