Table of contents

vii Preface
xi Introduction
xi The Sahtu Dene
xii Telling My Dad’s Story Morris Neyelle
xiii Story and Dene Philosophy Johnny Neyelle
I Sacred and Traditional Stories
3 The Man Who Lived with a Giant
9 Bone Grease from the Sky: How the Animals Became Fat
13 Doo-roo-tseh, the Medicine Man
17 Kidnapped Woman Escapes
27 A Man and His Mother Turn to Cannibalism
31 Ia’eh, the Evil Strong Medicine Man
37 Tł’o-k’áe-tee, the Medicine Man
41 Yamorehya, the One Who Walked the World
59 Yamogah and Ayonia
II Oral Histories from the Life of Johnny Neyelle
69 Life with My Parents, Jacque Neyelle and Marie Kotoyeneh
81 Trapping with My Father
89 Jacque Neyelle’s Story
95 A Trip to Mackenzie Mountain
101 The Dream, 1940s
105 Advice from My Parents
111 The Hunt to Whiskeyjack Point
115 Tragedies of the Past
117 Epilogue: Goodbye to Johnny Morris Neyelle
121 Afterword: The Editing Process
125 Genealogy of the Extended Neyelle Family
137 Glossary of North Slavey Words


The Man Who Lived with a Giant presents traditional and personal stories told by Johnny Neyelle, a respected Dene storyteller and Elder from Déline, Northwest Territories. Johnny Neyelle used storytelling to teach Dene youth and others to understand and celebrate Dene traditions and identities. Johnny’s entertaining voice makes his stories accessible to readers young and old, and his wisdom reinforces the right way to live: in harmony with people and places.


"[Johnny Neyelle's] recorded stories were meticulously translated by his son Morris Neyelle and editor Alana Fletcher to blossom into this beautiful memoire, which is truly a guide to being. .. An invaluable road map, a gift from Johnny Neyelle that will help guide the people of Denedeh and everyone else to a positive life. "

- Deborah Shatz

“To paraphrase Johnny Neyelle, these stories are about learning to live, they are about cultivating an ethos that will help us navigate our increasingly interdependent lives together, on the land that sustains us, well into the future.”

- Glen Sean Coulthard, Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal, Spring 2022