Introduction to the Dogrib Dictionary

(excerpted from the 1996 printed dictionary)


The publication of a preliminary edition of the Dogrib Dictionary in 1992 was an important event for the Dogrib Divisional Board of Education. The dictionary coincided with the graduation of the first teachers from the Kw’atindee Bino Community Teacher Education Program in Rae-Edzo and was intended as an integral part of the foundation upon which we could build the language and cultural programming in our schools. The distribution of the dictionary kindled an interest in many people in their language which supported the progress of literacy courses in our communities and the writing of Dogrib in our schools.

We hope that this enlarged and improved edition of the dictionary will do more of the same. As each year there are fewer elders who speak of the old ways in the old language, it becomes extremely important to document their world view before it is gone altogether. The dictionary is one tool to achieve this end. In the future, it will serve young people by giving them a glimpse into the world of their ancestors and, we can pray that it will continue to be the record of a living language.

The publication of this book is not the end of this dictionary project. We hope to continue documenting the Dogrib language, and that this continuing work will lead to the publication of a more comprehensive dictionary in the years to come. Indeed, we currently collect and document the language using a relational database that records a great deal more information than we have been able to include within the constraints of this edition.

This dictionary project would never have been completed without the work of a number of people. I want to express my profound appreciation for Jacob Feenstra who began this project on our behalf in 1990 and for Leslie Saxon and Mary Siemens who continued the work after the preliminary dictionary publication in 1992. They have committed a great deal of their personal timAppreciation must also be given to the individual members of the Dogrib Divisional Board of Education, who, over the past seven years, have consistently recognized the importance of this work and supported the project. Also, thanks are due to those people outside of our communities who contributed significantly to the success of the project including Paul Brown and, later, Flemming Andersen of AKTIV Software in Victoria who developed the 4th Dimension template and completed the formatting for the final product.

Finally, I would like to thank the first and second generation of Dogrib teachers who have taught our children in their first language: Mary Adele Flunkie, Lucy Lafferty, George Mackenzie, Phillip Mackenzie, Gina Maclean and Terri Tsetta who in many ways started it all with her original noun dictionary, and Josie Bishop, Shirley Campbell, Verna Crapeau, Mary Therese Douglas, Christine Liske, Rosa Mantla, Cecilia Zoe,-Martin, Bella Nitsiz, Eva Nitsiza, Marie Sabourine, Ernestine Steinwand, Tammy Steinwand and Celine Whane.

Mahsì cho.
Jim Martin, Director Dogrib Divisional Board of Education


Leslie Saxon
Department of Linguistics University of Victoria

Mary Siemens
 Dogrib Divisional Teaching & Learning Centre, Dogrib Divisional Board of Education

Advisory Group

Alphonse Eronchi
Phillip Huskey
Rosa Huskey
Gabe Lafferty
Lucy Lafferty
Elizabeth Mackenzie
Robert Mackenzie
Jimmy Martin
Elizabeth Quitte
Phillip Rabesca
Vital Thomas
Joe Tobie
Isidore Wellin
Edward Weyallon

For even more information from the Printed Dictionary click here: Dogrib Dictionary PDF (requires AdobeAcrobat)