Posts Tagged ‘peel river first nations’

Supreme Court to Hear Peel Case

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Today, great news from CPAWS-Yukon:

“Months of waiting were put to an end today when the Supreme Court of Canada announced that our leave to appeal has been granted and the Peel Watershed case will be heard. The decision to hear our case in Canada’s highest court confirms that the future of the Peel is of national importance and that the November 2015 ruling of the Court of Appeal to roll back the clock on the land use planning process requires a second look.”

“Chris Rider, Executive Director of CPAWS Yukon, stated: “The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to hear this case shows that it recognizes the value of the Peel Watershed. It is a treasure of international significance and it deserves protection. Beyond this, the final ruling will set a precedent for all future land use planning in the Yukon.”

“Thomas R. Berger will be representing our case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Yukon Court of Appeal’s ruling was a mistake in the interpretation of the Final Agreements and that the original judgment from Justice Ron Veale should be reinstated. Justice Veale had decreed that the planning process be sent back to the final stage, which would have prevented the Yukon Government from adopting its closed-door plan – one that would open up 71% of the Peel to development. While the Court of Appeal partially upheld Veale’s judgment, it directed the process to re-start from 2010, providing an opening for the government to significantly reduce the level of protection from the 80% recommended by the Planning Commission.”

“The Supreme Court has yet to announce when the case will be heard, but it is likely to be in 2017.”

“In tandem with the announcement, today we are launching the Peel Pledge, a way for Yukoners and all Canadians to stand with First Nations and environmental groups and show their support for Peel protection.”

Take the Peel Pledge at www.protectpeel.ca.

See also the related story in the Yukon News

 

Take Action to Protect the Peel Watershed

For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca  Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide

… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed in Whitehorse (online: www.yukonbooks.com ),  Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto).

Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate all of the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip. Full of wonderful stories and information, it’s a must-have campfire companion.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book.

Peel Court Case Appeal to be Heard in August

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Excerpt from Yukon News, by Jacqueline Ronson Wednesday May 27, 2015

“The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has joined the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun and conservation groups in their legal battle with the Yukon government over the fate of the Peel watershed.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale struck down the Yukon government’s plan for the Peel after a court case last summer, ruling that it did not follow the process outlined in final agreements with First Nations.

The Yukon government is now appealing that decision. The case will be heard in August.

Vuntut Gwitchin joined the other First Nations as respondents in the appeal after a court hearing on Monday.”

“Our government has concerns regarding Yukon’s conduct during the later stages of the Peel planning process. We will continue to be vigilant to protect the integrity of our final and self-government agreements, including the regional land use planning provisions.”

“Such a ruling could inadvertently and unnecessarily thwart potential further legal action in the case, he said. The Yukon Land Use Planning Council also applied to act as an intervenor in the appeal.

Both the Yukon government and the respondents opposed the motion. The judge said he will make a decision on the issue in the coming weeks. The planning council could not be reached for comment by press time.”

For the full story:

http://www.yukon-news.com/news/vuntut-gwitchin-join-peel-appeal/

 

Take Action to Protect the Peel Watershed

For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca  Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide

… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed in Whitehorse,  Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.

Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.

Peel Court Case Underway This Week

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

 “A coalition of the First Nation of Na Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Yukon Chapter, and the Yukon Conservation Society will take the Yukon Government to court to defend the Peel Watershed, represented by Thomas R. Berger, O.C, Q.C.”

Also according to the ProtectPeel website post, “Berger and his clients have launched this legal action to force the Yukon Government to implement a Land Use Plan that would protect 54,000 square kilometers of wilderness in the Peel River Watershed from mining and other industrial development.”

To learn more about the court case, which will run July 7-11th, or read the blog, link to:

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=0a50c4c11ca033ca3407f37d8&id=1946c7b79a&e=86ab9fa620

For background and legal opinion on the court case, see the Yukon News at:

http://www.yukon-news.com/news/peel-protection-legally-sound-berger/

 

Take Action to Protect the Peel Watershed

For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

 

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide

… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed in Whitehorse, Interior Books in Smithers), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.

Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.

 

Contact Us

To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $1.19 GST + Shipping = $32.00 CDN. For US orders, please add $3.00 for additional shipping costs, for a total of $35.00 US. For more information, contact jpeepreatyahoodotca, or post your comment or question in this blog.

Peel Watershed Plan Released

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

First Nations & Conservationists Launch Lawsuit

The Peel Watershed Recommended Plan, based on years of research and consultations, called for protecting 80% of the Peel Watershed.  The Yukon Government rejected the Plan, with a unilateral decision to open 71% of the watershed to development.

“The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Na-Cho Nyak Dun, and Gwich’in Tribal Council are extremely disappointed by the Government of Yukon’s decision to scrap the Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s Final Recommended Plan. “This is a sad day for all Yukon First Nations and all Yukoners,” said Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Eddie Taylor. “We had hoped that at the end of the day the Government of Yukon would do the right thing and accept the Final Recommended Plan.” Read more at:  http://protectpeel.ca/

Canadian Press

http://o.canada.com/news/yukon-government-sued-for-opening-peel-watershed-to-development/

Yukon News:

http://yukon-news.com/news/peel-lawsuit-to-be-filed-today/

Read the Peel Watershed land use plan released by the Yukon Government

http://www.emr.gov.yk.ca/lands/peel_watershed.html

 

"Endangered" Haruko Okano, 2004. Three rivers: wild waters, sacred places exhibition. Photo: Cathie Archbould

“Endangered” Haruko Okano, 2004. Three rivers: wild waters, sacred places exhibition.
Photo: Cathie Archbould

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stories From the Peel Watershed

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Tough travellers on the Wind River

“After a day of cold rain, this campfire alongside the Wind River casts a welcome circle of warmth. While we huddle around the flames, Neil Colin roasts strips of dried duck, part of his stash of country food from home. Neil is a Tetl’it Gwich’in elder from Fort McPherson, NWT, a small community perched on the banks of the Peel River, surrounded by the stunted spruce and wetlands of the Peel plateau.

Those lowlands seem a world away from the rugged country through which we travel now. Across the river, the imposing profile of Royal Mountain occasionally breaks through the mist, dominating the ranks of mountains lining the river. All his life Neil has heard stories of this landmark and the traditional homeland surrounding it. It is where his ancestors once hunted caribou in the mountain valleys and stalked snowy white Dall sheep among the limestone peaks.

Goldrushers named Royal Mountain. They struggled up this route on their way to the Klondike, and some spent a winter further downstream in a bleak encampment dubbed Wind City. The Gwich’in helped them survive. They also guided the Royal Northwest Mounted Police on winter patrols by dog team through this country. The Tetl’it Gwich’in live more settled lives now, but ties to the land are still strong, as Neil makes clear while carving off chunks of roasted duck: 

“You live in Fort McPherson and it’s nothing there. Only RCMP, missionary. The only place you live good is up in the hills. Everybody made dried fish all summer, shoot ducks, shoot geese. We used to go way up to Timber Creek to get caribou; pack all of our meat with dogs down to the boat and back home! It’s the only way you live good. Out there on the land is where you live good.”   – as told by Sarah Locke, 2008

The bishop who ate his boots

One of the North’s most renowned missionaries, Bishop Isaac Stringer, was almost at death’s door when he stumbled into a Gwich’in camp on the Peel River at the end of a 51-day ordeal. In September, 1909, he and a companion had started up the Rat River with two native guides, headed for the Yukon River and Dawson City. They let their guides go once they crossed the mountains, but ended up abandoning their canoe on the Bell River as it froze early that year.

They tried to return to Fort McPherson, but lost their way in the mountains, ran out of ammunition, and were reduced to boiling the soles of the Bishop’s sealskin boots for sustenance. When they finally found help, they were close to the spot where the bodies of the Lost Patrol were found just over a year later.

Lost Patrol

In 1910, Sergeant Francis J. Fitzgerald of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police was selected to lead the annual winter dogsled patrol between Fort McPherson and Dawson. It was the first and last time that the patrols, which usually started in Dawson, were run in this direction.

Fitzgerald had travelled the 760-kilometre route once, but in the opposite direction and over a slightly different route. His four-member patrol set out from Fort McPherson on December 21, 1910, with a minimum of supplies. Fitzgerald made his second mistake on New Year’s Day, when he dismissed a Gwich’in man who had guided them for five days over the long overland section of the route. Fitzgerald was relying on another patrol member to find the route.

They struggled back towards Fort McPherson, eating their dogs as they went, and encountering severe weather; in Fort McPherson thermometers recorded temperatures as low as -60 Celsius. Still Fitzgerald clung to faint hope:

February 3: Men and dogs very thin and weak and cannot travel far. We have traveled about 200 miles on dog meat, and have still about 100 miles to go, but I think we will make it all right, but will have only three or four dogs left.

He made his last entry two days later. When the patrol did not arrive in Dawson, Corporal W.D. Dempster was sent to find them. He found the first two bodies 35 kilometres from Fort McPherson; both were emaciated, one had committed suicide. Fitzgerald and Carter made it another 10 kilometres before dying. The patrol members never learned that they had been selected to attend the coronation of George V in London the following year.

The Mad Trapper

Albert Johnson arrived in Fort McPherson in 1931, purchased a boat-load of supplies, and then headed for the Rat River where he built a small fortified cabin. After a Gwich’in complaint that he had been interfering with traps, the RCMP went to investigate, and the Mad Trapper of Rat River began to earn his name.

When two officers arrived at his cabin, Johnson refused to talk, so they returned with reinforcements and a search warrant. Johnson shot and wounded one of the four men. Even when the police returned with a larger group, they were unable to flush Johnson out of his cabin; finally they blew it up with dynamite. Johnson survived, and held them off for another day from a tunnel underneath his demolished cabin.

When the authorities retreated again to regroup, Johnson escaped, triggering one of the longest man hunts in RCMP history. The police pursued him by dog team for 48 days, crossing the Richardson Mountains in blizzards with temperatures dropping to -40 C. When they cornered him in a canyon, Johnson shot and killed an officer before climbing a cliff at night to escape again.

“The Arctic Circle War,” as it was known, had people across the continent glued to their radios. To catch Johnson, the RCMP enlisted the aid of famed pilot “Wop” May to track down the killer and resupply the pursuers. This was a first for the RCMP, as was their use of two-way radios in the field. They caught up with the fugitive along the Eagle River, where Johnson wounded another officer before he was shot to death.

Excerpts from Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed, 2008.

Yukon Government Reveals Peel Scheme

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

 

After setting aside the Final Recommended Plan prepared by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, the Yukon government has released its own options for resource development and limited protection in the region. All of the government’s land use options, developed behind closed doors, ignore the basic principles of conservation embodied in the Recommended Plan. Instead the Yukon government wants to allow extensive roads, mining and oil and gas development in the ecological heart of the Peel watershed —going against the wishes of the Yukon public, First Nations, and tourism industry. The Yukon Party government appears willing to consider full protection in a few disjointed areas around the fringes of the Peel watershed, but not the core areas of the Wind and Bonnet Plume rivers.

The public review period for the Yukon government proposal ends on February 25, 2013.

 

To view the Yukon government proposal and send in your comments:
http://www.peelconsultation.ca/

To see the Yukon government’s media release and media coverage:
http://www.yukon-news.com/news/30746/
http://www.gov.yk.ca/news/12-197.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/10/23/north-yukon-peel-watershed.html

Take Action
For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide
… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from Yukon outdoor and bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.
Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.

Contact Us
To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $1.19 GST + Shipping = $32.00 CDN. For US orders, please add $3.00 for additional shipping costs, for a total of $35.00 US. For more information, contact jpeepreatyahoodotca, or post your comment or question in this blog.

First Nations Elders Support Protection

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

 

Latest Peel Watershed News

Peel Elders Renew Calls for Watershed Protection

“A special gathering to give Peel River watershed elders a chance to talk about the region was held Saturday, May 26,  at a Tr’ondek Hwech’in camp near the Dempster Highway in the Yukon.”

Visit the Yukon News at: www.yukon-news.com

Peel Protestors Shut Down Legislature, May 11

Visit the Yukon News at: www.yukon-news.com

Take Action

For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

 

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide

… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from Yukon outdoor and bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.

Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.

Contact Us

To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $1.19 GST + Shipping = $32.00 CDN. For more information, contact jpeepreatyahoodotca, or post your comment or question in this blog.

 

Peel Watershed Decision Expected in 2012

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

The politics of the Peel – what was said in the Yukon legislature in December, 2011:

Mr. Tredger (NDP Official Opposition):  “The Peel is one of the last remaining pristine watersheds in the world. The Final Recommended Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan recommended full and interim protection of 80 percent of the Peel watershed. Affected First Nations, nearby communities and the majority of Yukoners have, in the spirit of compromise, accepted this balanced plan. In January 2010, the Yukon government signed a letter of understanding with their First Nation partners. This letter had a series of timelines on when further consultations would take place and stated that a final decision would be reached in November 2011. These timelines have been missed. What is this government’s plan to get the Peel land use planning process back on track”?

Hon. Mr. Cathers (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):  “The Yukon government is committed to following the process. I would remind the member that the Yukon government, under the Umbrella Final Agreement, has a duty to take that final recommended plan to determine where we believe it can be made better and then engage in a final round of public consultation. That’s exactly what we’re going to do”.

[The final round of public consultations is expected in the spring of 2012, but the Yukon Party government has already said it rejects the Recommended Plan, and declared it supports industrial development in the Peel watershed, as shown again by the Minister’s comments below.]

“We believe that debate over the Peel planning process has become unnecessarily polarized and politicized. The debate has also at times lost touch with reality. It’s time to shift the debate from whether to protect the environment in the Peel to how to best protect the environment of the Peel while allowing responsible use. We believe that most Yukoners actually share common values. Yukoners value wilderness beauty and healthy ecosystems, but also want a strong, diversified economy that provides employment for their friends, families and communities”.

[In fact, public opinion surveys show strong public support for protecting 80% of the Peel watershed – First Nations, affected communities near the Peel, and the public do not want industrial development in the Peel, but do support responsible resource use outside the watershed. The Yukon Party is out of touch with public opinion and affected First Nations aspirations, and that is why the debate is cast as “polarized and politicized’.]

“We are … also committing to extending the moratorium on staking until September 2012”.

[This is a positive decision that will allow the final consultations and decisions to be made without the spectacle of a simultaneous staking rush in the Peel watershed. However, the moratorium would be more effective if extended until 2013.]

Northern sun on Wernecke Mountains - J. Peepre

Take Action

For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.

Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide

… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from Yukon outdoor and bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed, Up North Adventures), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.

Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.

The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.

Contact Us

To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $2.99 HST + Shipping = $33.00 CDN. For more information, contact jpeepreatyahoodotca or post your comment or question in this blog.

Ancient Peoples of the Peel

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

 

Geologic artistry in the canyon country of the Hart River.  J Peepre.

In traditional times, the rewards of life on the land were hard won. People travelled great distances to survive, carrying their livelihoods with them as they hunted, and shaping their lives to the ways of the animals on which they depended.  They fashioned all they needed—weapons, boats, cooking utensils, even boats– from stone, wood and the many different parts of caribou and other animals. Home was where the animals were—the winter hunt camps, the summer fish camps.

For the Tetl’it Gwich’in, the Peel was the centre of their world. They called it Teetl’it njik, meaning “along the head of the waters.” Tetl’it Gwich’in means “people who live at the head of the waters.” They were mountain people, hunting caribou throughout the valleys of the Richardson and Ogilvie mountains for most of the year. In summer, they descended to the Peel River and fished.

Other First Nations also travelled the mountains and valleys of this vast region during their yearly cycles. The Nacho Nyak Dun are “big river people,” and live on the banks of the Stewart River in Mayo, Yukon, south of the Wernecke Mountains. They are the most northern of the Yukon’s Tutchone First Nations, and their lives are oriented mainly towards the Yukon River, which runs roughly through the middle of Tutchone traditional territory.

But the Peel watershed has always been important to them as well. They would climb into the Wernecke and Ogilvie Mountains to snare Dall sheep as its meat was a special delicacy, and its supple soft skins were used for making children’s clothing. When barren-ground caribou wintered in the Peel watershed, the word would spread and they travelled over the mountains to hunt them. In more recent times, Nacho Nyak Dun also trapped and prospected in the Peel watershed.

Their life revolved around chinook salmon, which spawn every summer in the Stewart, a tributary of the Yukon River, which has the world’s longest run of migrating chinook salmon. In traditional times, the late summer runs of spawning salmon were immense—a natural spectacle on a par with the movement of the great herds of barren-ground caribou. At favoured fish camps, such as Fraser Falls, the Nacho Nyak set up weirs and wove funnel-shaped fish traps out of willow branches. Everyone stayed busy catching, cleaning and drying fish—setting aside large quantities of dried salmon for winter.

The seasonal round was similar for the Tr’ondek Hwech’in—“people of the river” in their Han language. They now live in Dawson City, where the annual run of salmon on the Yukon River is still a seasonal highlight. In fall the Han used to move north to hunt, trap and pick berries, and their traditional territory includes parts of the Hart River watershed and the entire Ogilvie and Blackstone river drainages.

 

(adapted from Wild Rivers of the Peel Watershed, 2008)