glasnost at cyfn

There has been an unmistakable change in attitude at the Council of Yukon First Nations in recent days. We wholeheartedly applaud it.

There has been an unmistakable change in attitude at the Council of Yukon First Nations in recent days.

We wholeheartedly applaud it.

The institution that represents 11 of the 14 First Nations in the territory is slowly opening its doors and lowering its guard.

Gone is the policy of isolation that seemed to wrap CYFN in an impenetrable layer of cotton and turn its chiefs and officials into members of a hermit kingdom. Arrived is a more dynamic, savvy organization that appears more comfortable to say what it thinks.

Mikhail Gorbachev, father of glasnost (that’s Russian for ‘openness’) would be proud.

During a recent news conference at CYFN, reporters got a taste of the new mood in action.

Grand chief Andy Carvill called the office from the Cordilleran Roundup in Vancouver and did something very unusual: he answered any and all questions.

At first, the assembled scribes were a tad reluctant to venture from the focus of the discussion — mining —to unrelated questions.

But then one brave reporter asked about CYFN’s ongoing friction with the Yukon government over its big game outfitter policy.

Carvill answered the query — announcing First Nations were talking with the government about the policy — and then the questions, and answers, kept on coming.

In about 30 minutes, issues that CYFN has not publicly addressed for ages suddenly had comment from the grand chief.

Carvill’s assistant even introduced herself after the meeting and offered her phone number for those needing additional information.

And just this week, reporters were invited to CYFN to speak with chiefs who were at the building to meet with federal Health minister Tony Clement.

Intent on making CYFN’s position clear, director of health partnerships Liz Walker approached reporters, unannounced, and delivered an interview so full of passion, clarity and openness that most reporters left speechless.

With self-government comes a responsibility to be open and responsive to the community.

In the last month, the Council of Yukon First Nations has provided information and background about the residential school settlement, the outfitter policy, federal health policies and athlete participation in the Canada Winter Games.

The Council of Yukon First Nations has, in a very short time, adopted a responsive public presence.

And the Yukon is a better place for it. (TQ)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Throne speech promises COVID-19 support, childcare, internet upgrades

Yukon premier said he is “cautiously optimistic” about many commitments

Culture Days comes back to Whitehorse with in-person activities, events

Clay sculpting, poetry readings, live music, moose hide tanning, photo walks and… Continue reading

Business relief program expanded, TIA told travel restrictions likely to remain until spring

The Yukon government has extended the business relief program

Driver wanted in alleged gun-pointing incident in downtown Whitehorse

The suspects fled to the Carcross area where the driver escaped on foot


Wyatt’s World for Sept. 25, 2020

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Harescramble brings out motorcycle community

This year’s event included 67 riders

YG seeks members for youth climate change panel

“Yukon youth deserve to have their voices heard”

Yukon NDP hold AGM

This year’s meeting was held virtually

Watson Lake man arrested on cocaine charge

Calvin Pembleton, 53, is facing multiple charges

Liard First Nation’s language department receives literacy award

Decades of work has made Kaska language available to many

Yukon government releases new guidelines for COVID-19 symptoms and sending children to school

The advice sorts symptoms into three categories: red, yellow and green

Most Read