Moosehide Council

The Moosehide community elected a seven-member council in 1921. Elders recall that the council handled local governance and disputes while criminal matters were handled by the Mounted Police and the courts in Dawson. The council set a curfew for children and women visiting Dawson, ensured that the sick and elderly were provided with firewood and water, mediated family disputes and made certain that school age children attended Moosehide Day School. The chiefs also supported members who appeared before the court system in Dawson, often acting as interpreters. The number of councillors varied over time, but averaged four or five members. A ledger of council minutes recorded the group’s decisions intermittently for at least 15 years.

 

As well as dealing with local matters, the Moosehide Council negotiated with the federal government on behalf of the community. One example was the matter of wood cutting rights. After repeated requests, the Chief and Council arranged to exchange their fuel wood allotment from a site eight miles away for a parcel that was closer and in a more convenient location. Although there were likely times that the council was more active than others, it did continue until the early 1950s, shortly before most people moved to Dawson.

Moosehide special constable Sam Smith was hired by the RCMP but reported to the Moosehide Council, ca. early 1920s.

Yukon Archives, Isaac and Sadie Stringer fonds, 82/332 #70