Van Tat Vuntut Gwich’in, ‘People of the Lakes,’ derive their name from Van Tat

Muskrat and Beaver Story – Dzan , Tsèe ha, as told by Edith Josie

Why Van Tat is rich in dzan but not tsèe :

Tsèe was swimming up the river and the Muskrat Dzan was swimming down; they met each other. And the Dzan told the Tsèe , “I will go up. You rest here.” And the Dzan left. He was gone a long time. He climbed to the top of the mountain and looked around. It looked good. On the other side of the mountain there were lots of lakes, and across the river there were lots of lakes. This story happened here in Old Crow. The Dzan climbed to the top of Chyaa Ddhàa and looked towards Van Tat and across Ch’oodeenjik. And then he came back down. “My feet are sore. … I can’t walk and I’m thirsty for water.” He pretended that his feet were sore. “It’s really no use. It’s better that you go upstream. It’s better upriver. There’s no use to look for a place on the land.” The Dzan told the Tsèe this.

And the Tsèe swam upstream. Dzan said he would stay and heal his feet there. While the Tsèe swam upstream, he went back up the mountain and stayed in Van Tat .

The Tsèe was told to look for a place along the river, but the Dzan decided to live in Van Tat , across the river or wherever there is a lake.