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Culture and History

Fort Smith has a long, rich history that has created a diverse and fascinating local culture. Festivals, artistic workshops, and every day life celebrate and connect the different cultures that call the Thebacha region home.

Learn more about the indigenous nations of the area:

Traditional Hand Games Tournament - Salt River First Nation

Immerse yourself in the fun and excitement of this traditional Dene team event where locals show off their skills and wit. Try to figure out the strategy to winning. Feel the pulse of the drum beating and the energy of the participants as they signal and point. After a day of games, join the locals for some traditional food and northern conversation at the community feast. One of the largest Hand Games Tournaments is organized by the local Salt River First Nation in late June along with their Treaty Land Entitlement Days celebrations.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

Make a point of stopping by on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day (a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories!), and try your hand at cooking bannock over a fire and checking out all of the uniqe events.  

Northern Life Museum & Cultural Centre:

Northern Life Museum & Cultural Centre - Step back in time and learn about the culture, history, and natural environment of the Thebacha region. Book a guided tour or participate in an educational program. The museum also hosts many art workshops in the traditional arts like beading and moccasin making as well as more modern arts like painting, drawing and more.

Festivals and Events

Festivals frequently showcase the art of Fort Smith’s talented photographers, craftspeople, authors, and musicians. Find out about all of our great festivals here: Annual Events

Local Artists

You can also find local artist's work at local businesses year-round.  Many artists welcome visitors to their home studios to shop for authentic Northern souvenirs. You can even connect with local artists from home at the NWT Arts website: