Vadzaih Daagaii Zheh

2. Vadzaih Daagaii Zheh

Dock and buildings as seen from the water. Reindeer Station. Summer, 1941. Photo credit: NWT Archives N-1990-003-0123(A390125)
Official Name: 
Reindeer Station or Reindeer Depot
This place name refers to an area along the Caribou Hills which is downriver from Inuvik on the East Channel of the Mackenzie River.
Literal translation: 
Vadzaih = caribou; degaii = white (reindeer); zheh = town

Reindeer Station was established by the Canadian Government in the early 1930's to manage the reindeer which had survived a five-year trek from Alaska to the east bank of the Mackenzie River Delta. The reindeer were kept in a 6,600 sq. mile grazing reserve east of the Delta. There used to be a Hudson's Bay Company trading post at Reindeer Station, and the Pelican Rapids, a HBC freighter, used to stop here. Gwichya Gwich’in elder Nap Norbert, who was a deckhand on this boat, said that they used to dread stopping here because of the large number of mosquitoes and the steep ramp up which they had to haul tons of equipment and supplies such as 45 gallon barrels. Several buildings can still be seen here today.