This dictionary was created with the goal of recording and preserving the language of the Katl'odehche people. Katl'odehche is an area in the Northwest Territories framed by the waters of Hay River and Great Slave Lake to the west and north and Buffalo River and Buffalo Lake to the east and south. For as long as memory serves, this region has been the home to the Katl'odehche Dene and has generously provided them with food, shelter and a rich cultural and spiritual identity.

The Katl'odehche people, while sharing the linguistic and cultural heritage of their neighbours in the Dehcho, have developed a dialect of the South Slavey (Dene Yatié) language which, in some ways, is quite distinct from their neighbours. It is because of these differences that the elders of the Katl'odehche have long sought to record and preserve the words of their own language. This Topical dictionary is a testament to their determination to accomplish this goal.

The words recorded in this Topical Dictionary are the words of the elders of the Katl'odehche First Nation Reserve. A committee of six elders, all of them fluent in the Dene language and respected within the community as vanguards of the language, worked tirelessly with a translator and a linguist for more than a year to document the translation and spelling of each word. Each individual word was agreed to by the committee. The linguist, himself fluent in Dene Yatié, then rechecked the pronunciation of each word with an elder to ensure accuracy in spelling.

This dictionary is dedicated to all residents of the Katl'odehche. It is the hope of all those involved in this project that this dictionary will serve as a catalyst in helping the residents of the Katl'odehche area reclaim their linguistic heritage and make Dene Yatié (Katl'odehche) the language of the home once again.

Brent Kaulback, Project Coordinator
South Slave Divisional Education Council