Black Lake Denesuline First Nation (Black Lake) is a community located in Northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin region, approximately 1,180 km northwest of Prince Albert.
Location & Access
Black Lake is a remote community with no all weather road access connecting the community to southern Saskatchewan. Access to Black Lake is by air to Stony Rapids and then by all-weather road approximately 20km south east to Black Lake. Black Lake is also accessible via the Athabasca Seasonal Road (Highway 905), which is entirely unpaved to Points North Landing, about 185 km south of Black Lake. While the seasonal road is open year-round, travel in the summer is very rough and slow traveling.
The Athabasca Basin Region
The Athabasca Basin hosts the world’s richest high-grade uranium deposits. The Northern area covers almost a quarter of Saskatchewan and a small portion of Alberta, and currently supplies about 20% of the world’s uranium. The region is also the home of seven communities. These communities are largely Dene First Nations communities and include Fond du Lac, Stony Rapids, Black Lake, Hatchet Lake, Wollaston Lake, Camsell Portage and Uranium City. The region is the most inaccessible and least environmentally disturbed area of Saskatchewan.
Local natural wonders such as Hunts Falls, Douglas River, and the Athabasca Sand Dunes provide breathtaking scenery and are some of the most unique ecosystems in the world.
Stony Rapids is located 82 km south of Saskatchewan’s border to the Northwest Territories, astride the Fond du Lac river. A Hamlet with about 240 residents, Stony Rapids is the closest community to Black Lake.
Black Lake has a registered membership of 2,096 band members, with 1,614 of those members living on reserve as of June 2016.
The population of Black Lake is young, with the median age of 22.3 years2 compared to Saskatchewan’s median age of 37.6 years.
The Dene language is very strong and continues to be taught by the Elder to children both at home and within the school system. Nearly all residents also speak English, but Dene is considered to be the mother tongue for 97.6% of residents. The people continue to maintain their traditional lifestyle, with hunting, fishing and trapping very evident on a year round basis.