This Tłı̨chǫ landscape is known intimately to Tłı̨chǫ Elders. Trails, which are used year-round, provide access to a vast harvesting region, and link thousands of place names, each with a narrative of some form, sometimes many, inextricably bound to the place. Names and narratives convey knowledge, and in this way Tłı̨chǫ culture is tied directly to the landscape. Travel across the Tłı̨chǫ landscape can be easily and clearly described by reference to these names, and indeed travel narratives often appear as no more than long lists of place names.
While toponyms mark topographic features, the Tłı̨chǫ also employ a separate naming system to distinguish the broader physiographic regions. Though there is some overlap with the physiographic units recognized by western geographers, the Tłı̨chǫ system is more refined, and consequently more complex.
The Tłı̨chǫ landscape is infused with the presence of innumerable entities, or “powers”, both benevolent and malevolent. In traveling across the landscape, one must constantly mitigate the impact of personal actions by appeasing these entities with votive offerings, and by observing strict rules of behavior. For example, at each new water body encountered en route, offerings are left. In the Tłı̨chǫ vernacular, it is said that these places, and the entities inhabiting them, are being “paid”. The offerings may be anything of value (in modern times this had typically included tobacco, matches, coins, ammunition), or simply, a garland of birch branches.These are thrown into the water (or onto the ice in winter), and in return the votary may ask to be granted good weather, safe traveling conditions and abundant food resources.