Collaboration or collision?

When we think of the words of our ancestors - Together Today for our Children Tomorrow - we think of those who came before us and their vision. It is our responsibility to uphold these words and carry this vision. Our elders tell us, "You do things in a g

When we think of the words of our ancestors – Together Today for our Children Tomorrow – we think of those who came before us and their vision. It is our responsibility to uphold these words and carry this vision. Our elders tell us, “You do things in a good way and if you take care of the land it will take care of you.”

We are those children but we are deeply troubled by recent events. We see a blatant contempt for the democratic process in Yukon government’s decision to abandon the Peel planning commission’s report reached by consensus with all First Nations and stakeholders involved that called for 80 per cent protection.

Instead of respecting an agreed upon process, the Yukon government rejected the Final Recommended Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan, and imposed a new plan opening 71 per cent of the Peel Watershed to development.

This illustrates the Yukon government’s dishonour and it undermines the Umbrella Final Agreement they negotiated in apparent good faith with the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, Na-Cho Nyak Dun and the Vuntut Gwitchin. We also see Yukon government’s disregard for our brothers and sisters, the Tetlit Gwitch’in in the Northwest Territories.

If this is an example of how democracy works, then it is little wonder that youth are disengaged and voter turnout is at an all-time low. And how can the Yukon government ignore constitutionally entrenched agreements like the UFA that supersede any election?

We see disrespect for our culture and for the voices of our elders. We’ve had enough of governments who aggressively push unilateral agendas focused on resource extraction with little thought of their ethical and legal responsibilities to First Nation people. A healthy Yukon economy should be built upon mutual respect and certainty – something that this government, time and time again, has failed to do.

Premier Darrell Pasloski’s approach has resulted in a series of court cases, with more on the horizon. This doesn’t only impact First Nations people, but all Yukoners. It is evident that this current government still believes in the 19th century “Wild West Gold Rush,” like that portrayed in the Discovery Channel’s Klondike show. The accuracy of this program and Yukon government’s claim that the “Yukon is open for business” is as real as fool’s gold and has left us mired in the muck, mining malcontent and panning for peace.

The time is now. We could choose a future of mutual respect that celebrates the diverse values we have for the land – OR – we could accept this government’s agenda of instability and confrontation. We are not immune to working with industry – we understand that First Nations have a major role to play in development. But it must be done with our consent in a manner that respects our inclusion and values taught by our elders about caring for the land.

Our voices are strong, our hearts are full and our minds are clear. We stand together today for our children tomorrow.

We stand Idle No More – will you?

Eileen Peter, Samantha Dawson, Victor Kisoun, William Jakesta, Marissa Mills, Josh Barichello, Shaun Ladue, Brittany Tuffs, Gillian Staveley, Josie O’Brien, Sholeen Esquiro, Kris Statnyk, Wesley Jakesta, Fred Ross, Darrin Dawson, Jody Inkster, Melaina Sheldon, Stefanie Sydney, Angela Code and Rena Squirell.

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

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Ken Anderson’s Sun and Moon model sculpture sits in the snow as he carves away at the real life sculpture behind Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival in Whitehorse on Feb. 21, 2018. Yukon Rendezvous weekend kicks off today with a series of outdoor, virtual and staged events. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Rendezvous snowpad, live music and fireworks this weekend

A round-up of events taking place for the 2021 Rendezvous weekend

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. The proposed Atlin Hydro Expansion project is moving closer to development with a number of milestones reached by the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership and Yukon Energy over the last several months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Atlin hydro project progresses

Officials reflect on milestones reached

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read