"Thousands of years ago, every lake was like Great Bear Lake. So pure you could lower a cup into the water and drink it. So beautiful that people composed love songs to it. So mysterious that many believed it was alive. Today, of the 10 largest lakes in the world, it is the last one that remains essentially primeval.
Great Bear Lake straddles the Arctic Circle in the remote Northwest Territories of Canada. At just over 12,000 square miles, the lake is the eighth largest in the world. It is bigger than Belgium and deeper than Lake Superior, and it is covered in ice and snow most of the year. The surrounding area is wilderness too — a sprawling land of untouched boreal forest and tundra, rivers and mountains.
The only human settlement on its shores is the town of Deline, population 503. This isolated community is mostly Sahtuto’ine, meaning the Bear Lake People. They are as connected to the lake as the name implies, and for practical, cultural, historic and even prophetic reasons, they are determined to keep it pristine."