Conditions for Aboriginal communities in the North changed rapidly following the settlement of Treaty 8 in 1899, but the Canadian government could not be persuaded to enter into further treaty negotiations for regions north of Great Slave Lake. Ottawa was finally spurred to action, however, by the collapse of fur prices in 1920 and the discovery of oil at Norman Wells in 1921. Anticipation of another boom in the tradition of the Klondike Gold Rush caused the Council of the Northwest Territories to pass an ordinance forbidding entrance into the District of Mackenzie unless an individual was properly equipped for the country. Moreover, the prohibitive expense of transportation largely prevented public interest in the oil discoveries from becoming an all-out stampede for development. This new interest in developing the North led to a treaty with the Dene in 1921. It encompassed an area of some 372,000 square miles stretching east and west from the Mackenzie River, and reassured the Native signatories that they had complete hunting, fishing, and trapping rights to the land.

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