Tulít’a – “Where the waters meet”

Population: 562

Hugging the broad Mackenzie where it’s met by the clear-running Great Bear River, this little town, long occupied by the Mountain Dene, got its start as a formal settlement with the establishment of a trading post in 1869. It enjoys a dramatic setting: The Mackenzie Mountains rise across the river, while just north of town looms distinctive Bear Rock, famous in Dene lore. Access is by air and, in winter, by ice-road from Wrigley.

Location: 64°54′ N, 125°35′ W
Elevation: 101 metres
Population: 478
Traditional name: “Tulít’a” – “Where the waters meet”
Former name: Fort Norman (changed in 1996)
Record high/low: 35.0°C / -54.4°C
Setting: At the confluence of the Mackenzie and Bear rivers, on rolling, forested terrain facing west toward the Mackenzie Mountains
Languages: North Slavey, English
Ethnicities: Dene (Shita Got’ine, or Mountain Dene), Métis, non-Aboriginal
Getting here: By air from Norman Wells, or by winter road north from Wrigley
Founded in: For centuries, this area was used by the Sahtu Dene people. In 1869, the Hudson Bay Company’s Nichol Taylor moved his fur-trading post here from Great Bear Lake. In the 1920s the area experienced a staking rush following the discovery of oil downstream at what is now Norman Wells  
Claim to fame: Legendary comedian Leslie Nielsen and his brother, Canadian deputy prime minister Erik Nielsen, spent part of their childhood here while their father was stationed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Visit for: The annual Traditional Handgames Tournament (early September)
Best day trip: Across the Bear River to Bear Rock, or Kwetįnįʔah, renowned in Dene lore as the place where Yamoria, the great law-giver, killed three giant beavers and stretched their hides on the mountainside 
Best expedition: Into nearby Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve, headquartered in Tulita 
Notable locals: Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Canada’s first Aboriginal female Member of Parliament; Frank Andrew, local chief and political leader; Paul Andrew, radio and television journalist

Our Stories

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Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve

Paddle the Broken Skull River or go for the Triple Header: three rivers in one trip. Stop for epic hikes or soak in a hot spring in the traditional lands of the Shúhtaot’ine (Mountain Dene).    ... Read more

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve

Nááts’ihch’oh, named for a sacred mountain in its midst, is our newest park. Tucked against the Yukon border, it guards the headwaters of both the Nahanni and the Natla/Keele river systems. Paddlers can traverse the... Read more

The Old Anglican Church

Built around 1880, this single-storey log church, complete with a gable roof and wooden steeple, is one of the oldest standing buildings in the Northwest Territories. It is located on the former Hudson's... Read more

Bear Rock

Towering 400 metres above Tulita, sacred Bear Rock is said to be where Yamoria, the great law-giver of Dene lore, confronted a gang of giant beavers that had been drowning hunters. Yamoria killed three of the beavers... Read more


June 21 every year

Territorial holiday with events in all communities. Contact town offices for details. Read more


July 1 every year

National holiday with events in all communities. Contact town offices and check community websites for details. Read more