- Town Hall
Archaeological digs indicate that people have occupied areas near the community of Fort Liard for at least 9,000 years. In the past people were nomadic and traded with the Coastal Tinglit from across the mountains in what are now British Columbia and the Yukon. Trees have grown up around the present-day community but Fort Liard used to sit on a flood plain that was a traditional meeting place. In the spring, the Slavey people came from other Deh Cho settlements and places in Northern B.C. to spend time meeting, socializing and feasting before they went back to the bush for the berry and fishing seasons.
The North West Company set up a trading post in the Fort Liard area sometime before 1807. The post was generally referred to as "Riviere aux Liards" or River of Aspens. It was abandoned due to increasing violence among traders and aboriginal groups. After the North West and the Hudson’s Bay Companies merged in 1821 Governor George Simpson wrote about the post’s closure due to people being massacred by indigenous group(s). The fur trade was soon at its peak and moosehide boats were constructed by the Dene, based on the Hudson Bay Company's sturdy York boats. They were floated down the rivers to the fort filled with families, dogs and pelts. The moosehide boats were up to 20 metres in length and were constructed from six to ten untanned moosehides, sewn together and stretched over a spruce pole frame.
The Fort Liard Mission was founded in 1859. A new building was later built from 1913 to 1921. At the time, most people still lived out on the land and came to the community only to trade. One priest built the mission during those eight years. Now renovated Mission is an historic Fort Liard site. The Grey Nuns also lived in the area and greatly influenced how the local women, shifting the focus from the traditional geometrical shaped designs to flowers, birds and other animals, decorated arts and crafts.
Throughout the 20th century, settlement increased in Fort Liard. By 1983 an all-weather highway to Fort Nelson, B.C. connected Fort Liard to southern Canada. The community was incorporated as a hamlet on April 1, 1987.
Some people in the community retain aspects of a traditional lifestyle, hunting and trapping for subsistence. The community is particularly known for its artful birchbark baskets.