Slip on a soft beaver coat or a Dene vest, exquisitely adorned with colourful beads.
Then, wrap soft Northern furs around your neck before stepping into a teepee and settling onto spruce bow and caribou hide bedding around a roaring fire pit.
Roast marshmallows and learn about First Nations’ history and methods of survival. Sip spruce tip maple tea, and nibble homemade bannock. Experience unique Aboriginal games like leg wrestling, pole push and wood sawing. Listen to traditional songs and join in the drumming.
You step into another world with this year-round, family run business at Teepee Village in the small First Nation’s community of Ndilǫ (population 200), near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.
Summer cultural trips take place on the shores of Great Slave Lake, the 10th biggest lake in the world. While in winter, you get to experience a teepee perched atop the frozen lake, stomp through snow on wooden snowshoes with leather lashings and drive on an ice road.
“What I enjoy most is seeing satisfaction in our guests. We teach them something about our culture and they leave happy. The more we teach them, the happier they are,” says AuroraTours.Net co-owner Rainer Erasmus. “And when they leave happy, we’re happy.”
The company’s fall and winter’s star attraction is the spectacular aurora borealis, eerily shifting and shimmering across Northern skies. Small, intimate groups head out on late-night aurora hunting expeditions, stopping at secluded viewing spots away from town lights.
“Even when the weather is really cold, we make sure everyone is having fun,” says Erasmus, who has Dene and Danish ancestry. “And we’re always sure to get our guests back to their hotel by 2 a.m. They just love it. No one has ever left disappointed.”