The Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy (NWT PAS), approved in 1999, presents a unique community-driven approach to establishing a network of protected areas in the North. The NWT PAS arose from increasing resource development pressures in the Northwest Territories and is being implemented in the context of the land claim and treaty processes. Aboriginal communities in the Northwest Territories are using the NWT PAS planning process to identify protected areas that represent their values and meanings of wilderness. This is resulting in a shift in emphasis from tourism, recreation, and natural region representation largely reflected in the current system of protected areas to protected areas that represent the cultural, harvesting, wildlife habitat, and ecological values of Aboriginal communities. The first candidate protected area to receive interim protection under the NWT PAS was Sahyoue and Edacho, the two western peninsulas on Great Bear Lake in the Sahtu region. This candidate protected area is a nationally recognized cultural landscape, and is the source and living legacy of the stories of the Sahtu Dene. Sites like Sahyoue/Edacho being advanced through the NWT PAS present challenges for the agencies, legislation, and management regimes for protected areas, and point to the need for change in our definitions of wilderness, parks, and protected areas.