Though most Athabaskan peoples call themselves Dene, those in the Northwest Territories tend to use it for their particular group specifically. However, the northern Slavey are also known in English as the Sahtú, while the southern band are known as the Deh Cho.
The Cree named their enemies as slaves, as they often took captives and enslaved them. The names of the Slave River, Lesser Slave River, Great Slave Lake and Lesser Slave Lake all derive from this Cree name. Esclaves remains incorporated in the French names of these geographical features, as the French traded with the Cree before the English did. The people now known as Slavey in English were not necessarily taken as slaves in that period.
The Navajo people (Diné) of the Four Corners region of the Southwestern United States are said to be descended from the Nahani, who lived where the Nahanni National Park Reserve is, and also the Slavey of Northern Canada.