For the Northwest Territories the second half of the 19th century was a time when trapping and the fur trade became a way-of-life for many Aboriginal people. It was also a time when Christianity, along with church-based schools, was introduced to the Aboriginal people in the north through both Church of England (Anglican) and Roman Catholic missionaries and the Grey Nuns.

Late in the century the pace of change accelerated with the influx of American whaling ships into the Beaufort Sea; the arrival of independent traders challenging the might of the Hudson’s Bay Company; and the thousands of men and women who took the ‘all-Canadian’ route – the Slave and Mackenzie rivers – to the Klondike gold rush. This century of change came to a close, perhaps prophetically, with the arrival of the group charged with negotiating Treaty No. 8 with the Dene and Métis living south of Great Slave Lake.