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Timeline

The Journey to Yukon First Nation Self-Government

Settling Yukon First Nation land claims and self-government agreements in the Yukon involved decades of hard work, innovation and commitment by leaders and visionaries.

This website shares some of the stories of the people and events that helped map the way to a new governance landscape for all Yukoners.

“The only way we feel we can have a future is to settle our land claim … that will return to us our lost pride, self-respect and economic independence. We are not here looking for a handout. We are here with a plan...”

Elijah Smith in a speech to then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1973. Photo: Whitehorse Star

See the video of this historic meeting
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The term First Nation came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word Indian, which was considered offensive by some. The three Aboriginal peoples in Canada are First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

The Story

First Nation people have lived in the Yukon for thousands of years. In the 1800s, the arrival of the first traders, trappers, miners and missionaries from outside the Yukon changed the territory forever.

In the early 1900s, Chief Jim Boss recognized the effect that newly arrived settlers had on Yukon First Nations. He wrote two letters to the Government of Canada seeking recognition and protection for his people and their lands. His efforts mark the first formal steps on the journey to settling land claims.

In 1973, Elijah Smith led a delegation of Yukon First Nation leaders to present Together Today for our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada. This document petitioned the Government of Canada to negotiate land claims with Yukon First Nations.

After two decades of negotiations, the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed in 1993. It provided the template for individual Yukon First Nations to negotiate their agreements, and between 1993 and 2005, 11 of Yukon’s 14 First Nations signed their Final and Self-Government Agreements.

Timeline

1876

The Indian Act comes into effect in Canada.

1898

The Klondike Gold Rush brings thousands of gold-seekers to the Yukon.

1900-1902

Chief Jim Boss recognizes the effect new settlers have on Yukon First Nations and petitions the Government of Canada.

1940s

The Alaska-Canada Highway is constructed, further opening the Yukon to outside influences.

1968–1973

Yukon First Nations come together through organizations including the Yukon Native Brotherhood, the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians and the Council of Yukon Indians.

1969

The Government of Canada puts forward the White Paper, which is rejected by First Nations and is a catalyst for them to work together for the recognition of their rights.

1973

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Calder case prompts the Government of Canada to develop a new policy to address Aboriginal land claims.

1973

Yukon land claim negotiations begin when Elijah Smith and Yukon First Nation leaders present Together Today for our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada.

1974–1979

Intermittent negotiations occur between the Government of Canada and the Council of Yukon Indians. The Government of Yukon joins the negotiation process in 1979.

1984

An Agreement in Principle is negotiated. It is later rejected by Yukon First Nations due to several concerns, including the absence of a self-government component.

1993

The Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon and the Council of Yukon Indians sign the Umbrella Final Agreement.

1993–2005

11 Yukon First Nations sign Final and Self-Government Agreements.

Background image: Group of people at Ross River, 1922.
Yukon Archives, Claude and Mary Tidd fonds, #8436

Traditional Territory

Traditional Territory is the land that a First Nation historically used and occupied, which was determined by the First Nation and defined in its Final Agreement. The map outlines the boundaries of Self-Governing Yukon First Nation traditional territories.

First Nation use of its traditional territory began long before the Yukon’s boundaries were established. The traditional territories of some First Nations extend west into Alaska, south into British Columbia and east into the Northwest Territories.

Although a First Nation does not own all the land within its traditional territory, the First Nation and its citizens do have a number of rights within their respective traditional territory, for example, the right to hunt and fish.

Settlement Land is the land that a First Nation owns and manages as defined by its Final Agreement.

Background image: Two girls carrying salmon, circa 1929.
Credit: Yukon Archives, Claude and Mary Tidd fonds, #7184

First Steps

Chief Jim Boss laid the foundation for First Nation land claims almost 100 years before the first agreements were signed in the Yukon.

Boss was born in 1857, and was the hereditary Chief of the Ta’an Kwäch’än. In the late 1800s, he recognized that the influx of people — as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush — was significantly impacting Yukon First Nations and their way of life.

In 1900 and 1902, Boss wrote to the Yukon Commissioner and the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs requesting compensation for his people’s loss of land and hunting grounds.

These letters are now recognized as the first attempt to secure a land claim for Yukon First Nations. Chief Boss was an influential advocate for his people until his death in 1950.

“...the Indians are unable to subsist as they were formerly able to do... He [Jim Boss] says ‘tell the King very hard we want something for our Indians because they take our land and our game.’” From a letter Jim Boss wrote through lawyer T.W. Jackson to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, dated January 13, 1902
Jim Boss, 1910Jim Boss, 1910Credit: MacBride Museum of Yukon History collection, 1989-58-1
Background image: Letter Jim Boss wrote through lawyer T.W. Jackson to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, dated January 13, 1902.
Library and Archives Canada/e007812738 and e007812739

Coming Together

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great social change around the world. They also marked the beginning of a new era for First Nations in Canada.

First Nation people throughout Canada were finding a common voice and working together for the recognition of their rights. In the Yukon, the Yukon Native Brotherhood was formed in 1968. The following year, further momentum was gained in the territory and across the country as First Nation people soundly rejected the White Paper.

In early 1973, the Calder case was a catalyst in the Government of Canada’s development of a new Aboriginal land claims policy to guide negotiations. In February of that year, the Yukon Native Brotherhood presented Together Today for our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Yukon First Nations were unwavering in their vision to ensure that they, and not the Government of Canada, would determine who should benefit from their land claim agreements. Subsequently in 1973, the Council of Yukon Indians was established to negotiate land claims. It brought together the Yukon Native Brotherhood and the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians to represent all Yukon First Nation people and negotiate land claims on their behalf.

The 1969 White Paper proposed to abolish the Indian Act. This would have meant that First Nation people would lose their special status and rights.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Calder v. Attorney General of British Columbia prompted the Government of Canada to develop a new policy to address Aboriginal land claims.
Background image: Meeting of the Council for Yukon Indians, "Together Today for our Children Tomorrow", circa 1973-1975.
2006.23.1, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Archives

Elijah Smith

Elijah Smith, or Tä Me in Southern Tutchone, was born in Champagne in 1912. During World War II, he was stationed in England with the Canadian Army for six years.

His experience in the war profoundly changed his views on equality, how First Nations were treated in Canada, and the need to protect First Nation land and way of life.

Smith was a respected speaker for his people. He was Chief of the Whitehorse Indian Band and was instrumental in forming the Yukon Native Brotherhood, the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians and the Council of Yukon Indians. In 1973, he led a delegation of Yukon First Nation leaders to Ottawa to present Together Today for our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada, which marked the beginning of modern land claim negotiations in the Yukon.

In 1976, Smith was inducted into the Order of Canada. He remained a prominent leader until his death in 1991. Today, a federal government building and an elementary school in Whitehorse are named in his honour, however his true legacy lies in the achievement of land claim and Self-Government Agreements by Yukon First Nations.

“We, the Indians of Yukon, object to being treated like squatters in our own country .... We feel the (non-Aboriginal) people of the North owe us a great deal and we would like the Government of Canada to see that we get a fair settlement for the use of the land. There was no treaty signed in this country, and they tell me the land still belongs to the Indians.” Elijah Smith, in response to the White Paper
Elijah Smith, 1987Elijah Smith, 1987Credit: Whitehorse Star
Background image: Conference on the Indian Act. Whitehorse, October 1968.
Library and Archives Canada/ e010775662

Together Today for our Children Tomorrow

On February 14, 1973, the Yukon Native Brotherhood, led by Elijah Smith, along with a delegation of Yukon First Nation leaders, presented Together Today for our Children Tomorrow: A Statement of Grievances and an Approach to Settlement by the Yukon Indian People to then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

This ground-breaking document was developed by the Yukon Native Brotherhood in close consultation with Yukon First Nation Elders and community members. It laid out the past and present state of Yukon First Nations. It also made recommendations for a better future, including land and cash settlements.

Prime Minister Trudeau accepted the statement on behalf of the Government of Canada. Together Today for our Children Tomorrow became the basis for negotiating Yukon First Nation land claims.

“This settlement is for our children, and our children’s children, for many generations to come. All of our programs and the guarantee we seek in our settlement are to protect them from a repeat of today’s problems in the future. You cannot talk to us about a bright new tomorrow when so many of our people are cold, hungry and unemployed. A bright new tomorrow is what we feel we can build when we get a fair and just settlement.” Together Today for our Children Tomorrow, 1973
Background image: 13 Yukon Chiefs travel to Ottawa to deliver Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada
Whitehorse Star, February 12, 1973

Yukon First Nations present Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow to the Prime Minister of Canada on February 14, 1973 in Ottawa

Play the video

Together Today for our Children Tomorrow

Elijah Smith and the Yukon First Nation delegation in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1973
The Yukon First Nation delegation in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1973Credit: Yukon Archives. Judy Gingell collection, 98/74, 1
“There’s all the twelve chiefs from the Yukon, when that document was presented, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow... on February 14. We laughed about it after a while – we gave Trudeau a nice Valentine’s present.”
Sam Johnston, TTC Elder, former Chief and former Member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

Listen to the complete podcast episode

The Agreements

A land claim agreement is a modern-day treaty. It defines rights, including the ownership and management of land and resources, based on a First Nation’s use and occupancy of that land. Eleven Yukon First Nations have signed a land claim (Final Agreement) and a Self-Government Agreement with the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon.

Other agreements that address financing and implementation accompany the Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“The Yukon is a small place. It can be our lab, our medium for really changing the world in which we live.”
Lesley McCullough, Government of Yukon land claim lawyer and negotiator Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series.


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Final Agreements define the rights of a First Nation and its people to their Settlement Land and within their traditional territory. For example, these agreements include heritage, fish and wildlife, non-renewable resources, water management, forestry, taxation, financial compensation, economic development measures and the amount of land that a First Nation owns and manages. Final Agreements are protected by the Constitution of Canada. They also ensure First Nation participation on boards and committees outlined in the Umbrella Final Agreement.
Self-Government Agreements define the power First Nations have to make laws and decisions that affect their Settlement Land and their citizens. These powers are similar to those of a Canadian province or territory. Examples include education, the administration of justice, health, adoption, zoning, training programs and First Nation languages.
Copies of the agreements which have made self-government and settled land claims a reality for 11 Yukon First Nations.
Canada

Umbrella Final Agreement

Signing Umbrella Final AgreementUmbrella Final Agreement signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

In 1993, the Council of Yukon Indians, the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon signed the historic Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA).

The UFA, built on the principles introduced by Together Today for our Children Tomorrow, was the first step in the Yukon’s modern land claim settlement process. It acted as the framework for negotiating individual Yukon First Nation Final and Self-Government Agreements. The UFA also includes chapters that address land, compensation, self-government, and the formation of boards and committees to provide community-based input to government decision-making.

“I could say I lived through a lot of the hardship. I lived through the Indian Act …. It took forever. It took a long time. And personally, I healed as I went through this whole process. I came out to be a stronger person, a driving force.”
Judy Gingell, former Chairperson of the CYI and a signatory to the UFA

Yukon First Nations

Yukon is at the forefront of Aboriginal land claims and self-government in Canada. Eleven of the territory’s 14 First Nations have settled their land claims and are self-governing. This represents approximately half of all such agreements in Canada. These 11 Yukon First Nations are no longer administered by the Indian Act:

  • Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (1993)
  • First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun (1993)
  • Teslin Tlingit Council (1993)
  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (1993)
  • Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (1997)
  • Selkirk First Nation (1997)
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (1998)
  • Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (2002)
  • Kluane First Nation (2003)
  • Kwanlin Dün First Nation (2005)
  • Carcross/Tagish First Nation (2005)

Three Yukon First Nations remain administered by the Indian Act:

  • Liard First Nation
  • Ross River Dena Council
  • White River First Nation
A Self-Governing Yukon First Nation has powers similar to provincial and territorial governments in Canada. It can make laws and decisions about its lands, citizens and governance.
The Indian Act is a Canadian law first passed in 1876. It has since been amended numerous times. It sets out certain Government of Canada obligations and regulates the management of Indian band land, monies and resources. Many First Nations view this law as archaic and paternalistic. For example, the Act once prohibited traditional ceremonies, voting and land ownership by First Nation people.
Background image: Hand-crafting a traditional hide drum
Credit: AANDC/Rick Massie

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations signing ceremonyChampagne and Aishihik First Nations signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The Southern Tutchone and Tlingit ancestors of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) followed a subsistence lifestyle that included trapping and trading. Today, harvesting the bounties of the land continues to connect CAFN citizens to their heritage and homelands.

CAFN traditional territory is situated in southwest Yukon and extends into northern British Columbia, including large areas within Kluane National Park, Kusawa Territorial Park and Tatshenshini-Alsek Park. CAFN is named for two of its historic settlements.

In May 1993, CAFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“I think it’s successful because it’s something the people wanted. We need our power back. We need our people back, and we need control over our resource capacities back as well...”
Dave Joe (Dä Ké), CAFN citizen and land claim negotiator Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun

First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun signing ceremonyFirst Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun (NND) lies in northeastern Yukon and reaches into the Northwest Territories. The First Nation’s government administration is in Mayo.

Na-Cho Nyäk Dun means “Big River People” in Northern Tutchone. Historically, the NND traded with the Tlingit of southeast Alaska and with early explorers in the region.

In May 1993, NND, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“Self-government means that you got to work hard to put it together. It’s not an easy, easy government you’re going to have. You’re going to work hard.”
Robert Hager, former Chief of NND Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

Teslin Tlingit Council

Teslin Tlingit Council signing ceremonyTeslin Tlingit Council signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) traditional territory lies in south Yukon and extends into northern British Columbia.

Originally coastal Tlingit from southeast Alaska, the ancestors of the Teslin Tlingit first moved inland to the Upper Taku River and later to the shores of Teslin Lake. In the 1940s, the construction of the Alaska-Canada Highway brought drastic changes, and prompted them to settle in what is now Teslin.

Today, Tlingit traditions and culture are intact, and the First Nation’s five clans play a key role in contemporary society.

In May 1993, TTC, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“…for too oft we were made to believe we couldn’t do anything…. we had to prove to the rest of the world that we were people too and we could, if given half of the chance, we’d do different things and be good at it.”
Sam Johnston, TTC Elder, former Chief and former Member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation signing ceremonyVuntut Gwitchin First Nation signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) extends across north Yukon into Alaska and the Northwest Territories. VGFN is centred in Old Crow, the Yukon’s most northerly and only fly-in community.

Vuntut Gwitchin means “People of the Lakes.” Today, VGFN retains a vital connection to the Porcupine Caribou herd, which is a primary source of food for the First Nation. The herd migrates over 2,500 kilometres through the First Nation’s traditional territory each year.

In May 1993, VGFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“...we had never ever lost self-government. We simply reinstated it. Our elders know implicitly what the issues of governance are and what it takes to have that level of authority and responsibility at the same time…”
Joe Linklater, Chief of VGFN Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation

Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation signing ceremonyLittle Salmon/Carmacks First Nation signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation (LSCFN) lies in south central Yukon.

The oral history of the LSCFN reveals contact and trade relationships with early explorers and traders. When the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse to Dawson City was built in 1950, many LSCFN people settled in Carmacks, the First Nation’s administrative centre. Today, the First Nation follows a traditional form of governance.

In July 1997, LSCFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“Without traditional knowledge, our people are getting lost .... we were never asked (by governments) what our grandfather’s law is. The Elders know this law and we would like to see it recognized for future generations. We cannot go back in history, but we can live by tradition.” The late Roddy Blackjack, LSCFN Elder and former Chief
Background image: Government of Yukon

Selkirk First Nation

Selkirk First Nation signing ceremonySelkirk First Nation signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of Selkirk First Nation (SFN) lies in central Yukon. The First Nation’s administrative centre is in Pelly Crossing.

Originally, the SFN people resided in Fort Selkirk and were known as the Hućha Hudän, or “Flatland People.” They traded with the coastal Tlingit and would meet during each summer’s fish camps. They moved to Minto and later Pelly Crossing during the construction of the North Klondike Highway in the 1950s.

In July 1997, SFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“We, the Selkirk people, exercise our inherent right of Self-Government … in order to assure for ourselves today and for countless generations in the future, protection of our language and culture, and a life that fulfills our uniqueness as human beings and sustains our well being.” Excerpt from Selkirk First Nation Constitution Preamble
Background image: Government of Yukon

Tr’ondёk Hwёch’in

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in signatories to the agreementsTr’ondëk Hwëch’in signatories to the agreementsCredit: 2013.20.3.08, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Archives, Martha Kates Collection

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) means “People of the River” in Hän. The First Nation’s traditional territory lies along Yukon’s west-central border, and many of its citizens live in Dawson City, found at the confluence of the Klondike and Yukon rivers (Klondike is actually a mispronunciation of Tr’ondëk).

Hän-speaking people have lived in this area for thousands of years. Today, TH citizens include descendants of people who spoke Hän, Northern Tutchone and Gwich’in.

In July 1998, TH, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“Self-government is almost like (taking) back your life. (Taking) back the way our people once (were). We can govern ourselves. We have the ability to manage ourselves.”
Angie Joseph-Rear, former Chief of TH Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

Ta’an Kwäch’än Council

Ta’an Kwäch’än Council signing ceremonyTa’an Kwäch’än Council signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC) in south central Yukon includes Lake Laberge (Tàa’an Män), from which the First Nation derives its name. Today, about half of TKC citizens live in Whitehorse.

After Chief Jim Boss petitioned the Government of Canada in 1902, Ta’an Kwäch’än was granted a small reserve. In 1956–1957, the Government of Canada amalgamated Ta’an Kwäch’än into the Whitehorse Indian Band, known today as Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Ta’an Kwäch’än later re-established itself as a distinct First Nation.

In January 2002, TKC, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“I really see this as the opportunity to move forward .... Self-Governing First Nations are very much comparable to the structure of provincial or territorial governments. They have jurisdictional authority to pass their own laws; to manage their own affairs... ”
John Burdek, former Chairperson of TKC and signatory to the TKC Self-Government and Final Agreements Voices of Vision: Yukon Aboriginal Self-Government podcast series


Listen to the complete podcast episode
Background image: Government of Yukon

Kluane First Nation

Kluane First Nation signing ceremonyKluane First Nation signing ceremonyCredit: Canada

The traditional territory of Kluane First Nation (KFN) extends from the shores of Kluane Lake northeast to the Ruby and Nisling mountain ranges and southwest to the St. Elias mountains in Kluane National Park.

Called the Lù’àn Män Ku Dän, or “Kluane Lake People,” KFN citizens have close relationships with neighbouring Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Upper Tanana in Alaska. Today, the First Nation is centered in Burwash Landing.

In October 2003, KFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“We get to steer our own future. We get to guide where we’re going to go. And we don’t have to rely on a Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to say, ‘Yes you can do this or no you can’t,’ and that’s huge.”
Math’ieya Alatini, Chief of KFN Mapping the Way: Yukon First Nation Self-Government video


Watch the complete video
Background image: Canada/Kim-Mia Pronovost

Kwanlin Dün First Nation

Kwanlin Dün First Nation signing ceremonyKwanlin Dün First Nation signing ceremonyCredit: Government of Yukon

Kwanlin means “running water through canyon,” and refers to Miles Canyon in Whitehorse, which lies in the traditional territory of Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN). KDFN citizens are of Southern Tutchone, Tagish Kwan and Tlingit descent, and most live in Whitehorse today.

In 1956–1957, Kwanlin Dün was amalgamated with Ta’an Kwäch’än by the Government of Canada and was known as the Whitehorse Indian Band. Kwanlin Dün later re-established itself as a distinct First Nation.

In February 2005, KDFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“It’s been challenging... and we’re going to go through a lot of growing pains but I think on the opposite end of the pathway we have an increase of our young people who are recognizing who they are and reacquainting themselves with their culture, taking an interest in being decision-makers within their own community...”
Victoria Fred, citizen of KDFN Setting our Course: Yukon First Nation Self-Government video


Watch the complete video
Background image: Government of Yukon

Carcross/Tagish First Nation

Carcross/Tagish First Nation signatories to the agreementsCarcross/Tagish First Nation signatories to the agreementsCredit: Canada

Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) citizens are of Tagish and Inland Tlingit descent. The First Nation’s traditional territory extends from the head of the historic Chilkoot Trail in Dyea, Alaska to just north of Whitehorse.

Six clans are represented within CTFN’s governance structure: four under the Crow Moiety (lineage) and two under the Wolf Moiety.

In October 2005, CTFN, the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada signed Final and Self-Government Agreements.

“...what’s the vision?’ Ultimately it’s economic independence, it’s pride in one’s nation, cultural understanding, it’s education, it’s young people growing up in safe environments - similar to things that all Canadians seek with their own government.”
Justin Ferbey, CEO of Carcross Tagish Management Corporation and citizen of CTFN Setting our Course: Yukon First Nation Self-Government video


Watch the complete video
Background image: Government of Yukon

Living the Agreements

Yukon First Nation Self-Government and Final Agreements are being brought to life as the provisions defined in the agreements are implemented on a daily basis, to the benefit of all Yukoners.

For example, sustaining the rich cultural legacy inherited from their ancestors continues to be a priority for all Yukon First Nations. Several have also created economic development corporations to help ensure economic sustainability and create employment for their citizens.

From the protection and management of Settlement Land, special areas and heritage resources, to the cultivation of intergovernmental relationships within this new governance landscape, implementation of the agreements is dynamic and evolving and continues to shape the Yukon’s present and future.

Living the Agreements

Mapping the Way

Mapping the Way is an initiative that celebrates and raises awareness about Yukon First Nation land claims and self-government.

This initiative is a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Government of Yukon, the Council of Yukon First Nations and all 11 Self-Governing Yukon First Nations. These 14 parties work together to implement land claims and self-government in the territory.

We gratefully acknowledge the leaders and visionaries, individuals and organizations, and Elders, youth and community members who came together to make Yukon First Nation land claims and Self-Government a reality for all Yukoners.

We also thank the following champions for generously sharing their expertise, their knowledge and their stories:

  • The late Jim Boss and family
  • The late Elijah Smith and family
  • Chief Math’ieya Alatini
  • John Burdek
  • The late Roddy Blackjack
  • Justin Ferbey
  • Victoria Fred
  • Judy Gingell
  • Dave Joe
  • Sam Johnston
  • Angie Joseph-Rear
  • Robert Hager
  • Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre
  • Amanda Leslie
  • Chief Joe Linklater
  • Lesley McCullough
  • Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Archives and the Martha Kates Collection
  • Adeline Webber
  • MacBride Museum of Yukon History

A special thanks to all the individuals in our respective governments and organizations who helped to make this website possible:

Photo captions and credits