A Southern Tutchone youth who grew up on the shores of Kluane Lake
nov 5, 2014
The Kluane National Park and Reserve has been, and very much is, part of the traditional territory of the Southern Tutchone people, who have hunted here for time immemorial. Tachäl Dhäl, or Sheep Mountain, is named by the ST people of the region for its high amount of sheep, of which were hunted by the people. The difficult terrain of this region meant that the men and women who were hunting had to be in pretty good shape! From 1943 to 1976, the ST people were prohibited to hunt in the Park. After the hunting ban was lifted in 1976, it still took a couple more decades for the ST people to resume their traditions in the Park. The SelfGovernment agreements, signed between the First Nations and the Canadian Government, sustained the hunting rights in the KNPR for the Kluane First Nation (2003) and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation peoples (1993).
Like I said, the people who were hunting sheep on the steep mountains in the Park had to be in pretty good shape. While hiking here, imagine what it was like for these people to have to carry a whole sheep down the deeply slanted mountains!
The ST people and the Kluane National Park and Reserve began an initiative shortly after the signing of the agreements, called: Healing Broken Connections. This was to help bring the people back into the Park to restore their historical presence. These camp activities included: sheep hunting, trapping small animals, restoring and building traditional homes, hiking throughout the park, helicopter tours and other fun activities. The camps brought together Elders, youth and community members from both First Nations, as well as, KNPR employees. The camps brought the people back into the park to share their stories, traditions and culture that were passed down from their ancestors. Keep a look out for recorded history in the Tachäl Dhäl and Haines Junction Visitor Centres!
As a young, Southern Tutchone woman, I am proud to say that my ancestors have been the stewards of the land in the Kluane region for thousands of years! Today, stewardship of the land is shared with the Southern Tutchone people and the Kluane National Park and Reserve.
5 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Kluane National Park and Reserve:
1. Visiting the KNPR usually means you will see some wildlife! Dall Sheep are the most abundant in the area and can be seen from the Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain) Visitor Centre, from a safe distance.
2. Within the KNPR, stands some of the highest mountains on the continent, including Mount Logan which is the highest mountain in Canada! So, without a doubt, you will be amongst some great scenery during your visit.
3. Dip your toes in one of the coldest lakes in the Yukon! Fed by the Kluane glaciers, Kluane Lake is the largest lake in the Yukon, and will give you a chill by its touch.
4. The Kluane National Park and Reserve works together with the Southern Tutchone people to include traditional names of sites within the Park, such as Tachäl Dhäl (Sheep Mountain in Southern Tutchone).
5. Visiting the KNPR, means you are visiting traditional ancient hunting grounds of the Southern Tutchone people, so keep your eyes on the look out for artifacts to report to the Visitor Centres!