Don’t count us out

Don't count us out Re Ottawa wants Kaska erased (the News, February 11): As a Yukon Kaska member, I was surprised about the fragility of my existence. According to your paper: "Ottawa says it has no knowledge of the Kaska Nation in the Yukon É (and) ins

Re Ottawa wants Kaska erased (the News, February 11):

As a Yukon Kaska member, I was surprised about the fragility of my existence.

According to your paper: “Ottawa says it has no knowledge of the Kaska Nation in the Yukon É (and) insists it has no knowledge of the Kaska’s traditional territory in the Yukon.”

I cannot believe that the government of Canada would take such a position. Why would Canada engage for decades in land claim discussions and many other issues with the Kaska Nation, whose office is located in Watson Lake, Yukon?

I feel personally offended and frightened for the well-being of our federal government. I have been participating in many meetings with the government of Canada in the Yukon and been addressed, by them, as Kaska.

Can they be as forgetful? Is this another attempt of assimilation?

The government just apologized for their past attempts to erase our culture. I am wondering about the honesty of this apology.

Canada’s present approach makes me feel like my family’s and people’s culture and roots are just a pawn in a game of chess.

I am a Kaska, born on Kaska traditional territory located in Yukon territory, speaking Kaska language and living according to Kaska traditional values. I hope the government of Canada will have the decency to be honest and respectful when interacting with our people – Kaska in British Columbia and the Yukon.

Testloa Smith

Ross River, Yukon, Kaska Traditional Territory

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