Letter to the Editor

Children should be seen and heard The roar of musical instruments, lively singing and crazed wolf howls broke the silence of the morning.

Children should be

seen and heard

The roar of musical instruments, lively singing and crazed wolf howls broke the silence of the morning.

Just one step inside the Council of Yukon First Nations gymnasium revealed a wonderful sight — 60 children clapping, singing, howling and turning each other into toads with their magic wands.

It’s the kind of daily magic that could only happen in a child’s world, and on this particular day the children of Whitehorse celebrated with a purpose: the right to be heard.

“It’s National Child Day and we’re here to bring awareness to the rights of children,” said Miranda Colbert, member of the Yukon Child Care Association and director of Nlaye Ndasadaye Daycare.

“This year’s theme was The Right to Be Heard.”

The child-care association, a volunteer board that works for the development of an expanded, improved child-care system, co-ordinated the event.

Over the last few weeks, the group of child-care professionals donated their time to make sure National Child Day made an impact in Whitehorse.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s website states the importance of National Child Day: “Through active participation, children are empowered. They learn new skills and build self-esteem. Listening to children and respecting their views promotes tolerance and leads to decisions made in the child’s best interest.”

In response, the child-care association provided children with an entertaining and perfectly themed morning of activities.

 “Michael Brooks held a concert where the kids got to sing as loud as they wanted,” said Colbert.

“They made megaphones to enhance their voices, and got to have their faces painted however they pleased.

“It’s to bring awareness to parents and caregivers that children do have rights, and we were there to celebrate them”

Michael Brooks, who has been performing for children for 17 years, felt that the event empowered the kids.

“It’s a great thing, especially for pre-schoolers,” said Brooks.

 “They learn to be in an audience, to participate, how to follow a song, and to do their own thing. It’s nice to have an avenue to do that.”

The Council of Yukon First Nations graciously donated the space for the event, which brought out more than 60 children, caregivers and volunteers.

Rick Massie

Whitehorse

Caribou conundrum

There is a lot of information about the population of the Porcupine caribou herd.

It can be very confusing to make sense of it all, and the Porcupine Caribou Management Board tries to ensure the public has the best information possible.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game conducts counts of the Porcupine caribou herd, and it routinely includes calves as part of its count.

The Northwest Territories does not count calves when it counts its herds, and they do not count the Porcupine caribou herd.

When we look at population trends for the Porcupine herd, we need to look at the herd’s total population, including calves, because all previous counts have included the calves.

When we compare the Porcupine caribou herd size with the herds in the Northwest Territories, we need to look at the Porcupine herd size excluding the calves, which is estimated to be around 78,000 caribou.

The last population census in 2001, including calves, estimated the herd size to be 123,000 caribou. Given calf-survival estimates, the herd size is considered to be 110,000.

Regardless of the exact number, the Porcupine Caribou Management Board has passed a resolution stating that there is a conservation concern.

To address that concern, the board is working to bring all user groups together early in the new year.

At that meeting, we will collectively identify appropriate conservation measures and at what population thresholds those conservation measures should take effect.

Careful discussions with all user groups must take place to ensure harvesting rights and conservation concerns are all properly considered in any decision making.

Joe Tetlichi, chair, Porcupine Caribou Management Board

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