By Brian Castner
Wilfred has lived in and around Fort Good Hope for his entire life. The town of barely 500 people sits on a bluff above the flood-prone Mackenzie River, known to the Dene as the Deh Cho, or “Big River,” overlooking a valley so vast it seems untamable. The Arctic Circle is only a few miles to the north; to the south, the Ramparts, a series of sheer limestone cliffs. To the east and west stretch endless boonies of black spruce and mosquito-clogged muskeg, the land of Wilfred Jackson and his ancestors. This is a place defined by the virtual absence of man: The Northwest Territories is nearly as big as Alaska, but only 40,000 people live there, and Edmonton, the closest city of any size, lies 1,000 miles away.
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