Dechinta Bush University Centre for Research and Learning

Dechinta Bush University is an all season land-based university program, focusing on Indigenous and Northern governance, self-determination, sustainable communities and resource management, boreal ecology, land-based education,leadership, community based and participatory research. Year-round facility and programs  includes semesters, short programs and think-tank gatherings. Opportunities for researchers, visiting scientists and researchers in a diverse community of Academics, social and environmental scientists, Elders and youth. Child care and family programming is available. Facility has been operating since 1979, and is currently a shared eco-tourism and university space. The site has significant base-line data for fresh water fish, water fowl and wildlife, as well as rare geophysical features. The site operates as a model for sustainable remote communities, operating 23+ hours on renewable energy systems and complex waste management systems. The surrounding environment offers diverse opportunities for both research,education and gathering, resourced within a diverse community of northern experts and students. Dechinta also offers training for northern researchers.
Vertical aurora cropped

Blachford Lodge under the Northern Lights

Name Email Phone Number
Primary Contact Catherine Lafferty (867) 445-9061
Secondary Contact Mandee McDonald (867) 445-1897

Download Dechinta Bush University Centre for Research and Learning profile as a PDF document

Dechinta Bush University/Blachford Lake Lodge

Regular Member




17-mile freshwater lake, Boreal ecosystem adjacent to Great Slave Lake within unique geophysical rare-earth complex.

Nearest Community
Yellowknife, (3 hrs snowmobile, 20 min. float/ski plane, 30 min helicopter)

Territory/ Province
Northwest Territories

Aboriginal Government/ Homeland
Chief Drygeese, Akaitcho Treaty 8 Yellowknives Dene First Nation Territory

Facility Type
Year-Round Research Station

Research Hinterland
Discontinuous Permafrost, Freshwater, Lake, Taiga / Boreal forest, Terrestrial

Main Research Disciplines
Anthropology, Archaeology, Astrophysics, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Biochemistry, Climatology, Environmental Sciences, Geology and Sedimentology, Geophysics, Geocryology, Geomorphology, Human Biology/Wellness, Hydrology, Limnology, Mapping/GIS, Marine Biology, Microbiology, Sociology, Soil Science, Terrestrial Biology/Ecology, Traditional/Aboriginal Knowledge

Current Projects
Dechinta is currently involved in multiple research projects, including digital economies, gaming and story-telling, knowledge economy, resiliency and health, land-based education impacts, Indigenous pedagogy,Indigenous Boreal Guardians, and sustainable remote development

Generator, Solar, Wind

Satellite phone, VHF, Internet, Computer, Printer/scanner, Fax

Local Transportation
Access by skidoo, float or ski plane and helicopter from Yellowknife

Equipment Storage
Heated and un-heated storage available, including sample storage

Dormitory/Sleeping Facilities
5 Lodge rooms + 5 log-cabins (wood and pellet heat + electricity), winterized tent-frames x 15.

Dining/Kitchen Facilities
Full commercial kitchen with cook, large post-and-beam lodge, common facilities, dining room and break-out/classroom spaces.

Laboratory Facilities
Multi-purposes spaces and tent frames have been set up as mobile wet lab, dry lab and geophyisical lab

Fuel Availability
Diesel, Jet A + B and boat, skidoo and chainsaw gas/oil

Research Requirements
All research in the NWT must be licensed in accordance with the Aurora Research Institute, process of which includes permission process with the host First Nation YKDFN.

Special Rules and Regulations

Local External Resources
Weather station, sampling stores, experimental boreal and arctic permaculture greenhouses and food security projects, composting waste systems, Elder Professors and experienced guides

Nearest Medical Service
WFA on-site, emergency response coordinated on-site to Yellowknife (30min)

Safety Considerations
Boreal Bush environment. Recommended that all researchers have predator defense, or work with an assigned wildlife monitor during field work. Mandatory compliance with safety plans and facility guidelines.

Scaling rates depending on accommodation and facility requirement starting at basic room and board + additional for equipment, guides, etc., as needed

Other Information
Post and Beam Lodge 5 bedrooms, 3 lounges/classrooms, large conference room, offices, composting toilet, solar/wind, on-demand hot-water and laundry, 5 log cabins with full electricity, 15 tent-frames, lab additional accommodation. 45 in the winter 100+ in the summer months. 12 aluminum boats, dog team, skidoos. Organic gardens, sauna, hot tub, tee-pees, canoes, kayaks, helipad and float and ski plane access. Open all seasons. Large populations of bear, moose, loons and other small mammals and waterfowl.

Last Updated

best BLL Genisis Wksp '05

Main lodge


Traditional net fishing, sustenance and fish health. Photo credit: Glen Coultard

Ice Fishing - BLL - 2003

Winter skidoo travel. Photo credit: Kali Spitzer