Etthén Heldeli: Caribou Eaters


Etthén Heldeli: Caribou Eaters travels with Déné First Nations people in Canada’s north, as they search for the species so vital to every aspect of their lives – the barren-ground caribou. The documentary is a celebration of their rich ancient culture, and a visual document lamenting their traditions that could vanish, if the caribou disappear.

In subarctic Western Canada, there are three caribou herds: the Ahiak, Qamanirjuaq, and Beverly. These animals represent the largest and last great mammal migration on the North American continent. Once numbering in the millions, the Ahiak and Qamanirjuaq herds have been declining in alarming numbers over the last twenty years, while the Beverly herd’s migration routes have contracted so much that they no longer cross into the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This means that the Déné people of northern Saskatchewan, who depend on caribou for meat and hides, are now forced to travel hundreds of kilometres north into the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to reach the herds.

Etthén Heldeli: Caribou Eaters follows Déné people as they hunt, harvest, butcher, feast, and celebrate the caribou, an iconic species that has sustained and defined their people for thousands of years.




Multicultural (30 Minutes & Over), Ruth Shaw Award (Best of Saskatchewan), Research

Creative Team


Ian Toews


Mark Bradley, Hildy Bowen, Cary Ciesielski, Mike MacNaughton, Ian Toews


Tina Giroux, Ian Toews

Production Company

Twisted Pair Productions and 291 Film Company

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