WHERE IS THE RESERVE? IS THAT IT ON THE WAY INTO TOWN? OR IS IT AT MOOSEHIDE?
Neither Moosehide nor the Tr’ondëk subdivision are reserves in the commonly-understood sense of the word. The first is one of our traditional camps/communities within our traditional territory, the other is a Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in subdivision on land that we own. As a result of signing a land claim final agreement with the governments of Canada and Yukon, we are a self-governing First Nation. Our citizens are not confined to a certain area but live all around the Dawson City area and, indeed, all over the world.
WHO DO I SPEAK WITH WHEN I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Find out which department/s you need to contact then ask which person is most likely to know the answers. This may be more than one source. For example, to learn about the resources of a particular area within the Traditional Territory, you may wish to talk to people involved in the Fish and Game Dept., the Heritage Dept. and people working in mapping. Within each department, different employees specialize in certain areas.
HOW DO I ORGANIZE A COMMUNITY MEETING?
You can ask assistance from the First Nation in finding an appropriate time, a venue and obtaining refreshments. The First Nation also has tools to communicate with its members.
WHAT IS EXPECTED WHEN WE SAY "CONSULTATION"?
For many groups dealing with First Nations, the term “consultation” means meeting with affected groups/communities to communicate the plans that have already been made then confirm agreement. True “consultation” means communicating at all stages of a project and incorporating knowledge and suggestions of the local community. It should be recognized that this is not always easy and will likely take some time.
ARE CHIEF AND COUNCIL THE ONLY PEOPLE WE NEED TO SPEAK WITH?
As with many other governments, Chief and Council are the elected, political arm of the First Nation entrusted with overall decision-making on behalf of their people. In addition, there are the administrators and workers who have the expertise and will be carrying out these decisions. If possible, you should ask for contact information and introductions to for relevant workers after meeting with Chief and Council.
PEOPLE AREN'T USING THAT LAND SO WHY CAN'T WE GO OUT AND MINE IT?
Just because First Nations people aren’t harvesting the land at that particular time, doesn’t mean that they feel any less of a connection to the land of their ancestors or the need to protect it for future generations. As in a well-run farm, certain hunting and trapping areas are often left fallow for a few years to let the resources replenish.
WHY ARE NATIVE PEOPLE CONTENT TO BE SO POOR? WHY DON'T THEY HAVE MORE AMBITION?
Many non-native people come from acquisitive, settled cultures and tend to impose their values on other types of societies. Often these values are concerned with improving the material status of the individual rather than contributing to improving the well-being of the community.
Because a First Nations person is living simply and lacks outward signs of wealth, this does not mean she considers herself to be poor. She eats healthy food, has the knowledge and skills to obtain more healthy food, and is secure in her family and community. In these key values, she is rich. Others should not impose their own values of what is meant by poverty and wealth.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
AND COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
THE LAND CLAIM FINAL AGREEMENTS ARE JUST FOR THE FIRST NATIONS.
The final agreements benefit everyone by righting past wrongs, recognizing aboriginal rights, providing certainty of land tenure, encouraging economic development, and ensuring all Yukoners can move ahead in areas like education.
As Percy Henry has stated about the landmark land claims document, Together Today for our Children Tomorrow, “When we say tomorrow’s children, we mean ALL children.” Not just First Nations.
WANTING TO PRESERVE THE LAND AND ITS RESOURCES IS PURELY A FIRST NATIONS STANCE.
For example, the Peel River Watershed dispute has been perceived by many as a First Nations issue. In reality, these values are shared by many and opposed by a relatively small cadre of politicians and developers. Even a number of developers prefer the certainty of working responsibly with First Nation partners to endless disputes over a problematic stance.
ALL FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE ARE AGAINST DEVELOPMENT.
As with any group, it is dangerous to generalize and assume everyone has the same opinions. We all have different thoughts about the best ways to move forward. Our land claims do include certain areas designated for development and we are interested in new job opportunities and ways to increase our prosperity. Our main concern is that this be done in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.