km 936, july 15/16. 44m, N 64˚53 W 125˚34. 5:30pm-3am.
we were mighty excited to arrive in tulita because some of our friends from home knew we could receive letters there, so we were going to get mail for the first time since leaving winnipeg almost a month and a half ago! along with that, while we were in fort simpson i had ordered to be delivered to tulita new pants and a stove repair kit from MEC; neither of which were absolutely necessary, but i was looking forward to them.
after witnessing the amazing smoking coal seams (glowing embers embedded in the cliffs too!) we pulled up to tulita in the dusky 3am light, feeling cheered by the twinkling lights of town. and then after not nearly enough sleep we embarked on a very social day. first to the post office where we met up with sac dene on the way. yay! we received so many letters (thank you friends!), but i didn’t get my MEC orders, so i was a little concerned. the rest of the day we spent visiting the band office, where the chief kindly let us use his computer to check our email; getting groceries; looking for a place to shower; finding out about hand games that were to happen that evening and subsequently hearing this news repeated several times by different sources, all with rescheduled times and locations; hanging out in the arbor with both our sac dene friends and local folks; meeting ron and wendy, who invited us for showers at their house; meeting mj kunkel, an incredible local artist who was so dear and talented and who then invited us to stay for delicious hamburger soup while she told us stories of her life; and then on to the hand games which ended up happening at the rec center. the hand games were incredible: intense and loud and beautyfull and fast-paced, at least to me who took awhile to figure out what everyone was doing. during this i took a break to walk around in the quiet of town and buy some poutine from the store down the road. i thought i might go to bed soon b/c i was so exhausted, but getting back to the rec center i learned there was to be dancing later, so i stayed. the dancing was also beautyfull and fun, but in a calmer way – it was very respectful. i felt so thankfull to be there at that time and to be welcomed in and be able to partake in the community. i think this was partly a benefit of traveling with sac dene on and off, when we were with them in communities it seemed like the communities pulled out all the stops for them – so not only were they super fun to be around, we were able to experience more of the community life than we would have been able to on our own. thank you sac dene!
first three photos by emma.