With its gravel streets, boardwalks and boomtown era buildings, Dawson City seems the epitome of a Klondike Gold Rush town. Less obvious are the presence and stories of the original inhabitants. These are embodied in a distinctive building on the Dawson waterfront, Dänojà Zho or “Long Ago House”. Its design draws on older traditions such as fish camps and traditional winter shelters. Inside, it is a hub for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in culture with dramatic displays and innovative programming.
Since it opened in 1998, the “Zho” has become an essential part of the community. Visitors from all over the world come here to learn about the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. It serves as a gateway to sites within our traditional territory such as Tr’ochëk, Tombstone Territorial Park and Forty Mile. During the school year, the centre offers programming to pre-school students, all grades at Robert Service School, and to post-secondary students at the Yukon School of Visual Arts. The centre has hosted films, presentations, and performances from internationally known film-makers, authors, musicians and dancers.
It has also become key to our own community, a meeting place for all. The centre is a springboard for local artists and supports economic development by offering locally-created art and crafts in the gift shop. In summer, young workers learn essential life and job skills, while they learn about and share their culture.