Remembering Iris Warner

Remembering Iris Warner Iris Warner was certainly a fountain of original ideas and was eager to share her wide knowledge of Yukon history with everyone. Her influence was amazing! I still cherish a copy of her short book Old Crow Yukon: Perimeter of Pa

Iris Warner was certainly a fountain of original ideas and was eager to share her wide knowledge of Yukon history with everyone. Her influence was amazing!

I still cherish a copy of her short book Old Crow Yukon: Perimeter of Paradise, c. 1970, one of the first publications locally printed and marketed by the Star. Rereading it today, one is fascinated by the vigorous lifestyle and the pure northerness of Old Crow at that time. She covered the ancient Kutchin history, up to the 1970s. By then the community had a population of 212 people, who were outnumbered by dogs.

It contained gems of information about the trapping in Crow Flats and the wealth generated by the muskrat trapping after the Second World War. One year, 45,000 pelts were harvested at $2 each. There are photos of the well-dressed people wearing unique parkas trimmed with wolverine and beads, and of the first ski program by Father Mouchet.

After the Warners moved to Salt Spring Island in 1981, Iris continued to take a sharp interest in events in the Yukon. In 1992, the year of the 50th anniversary of the building of the Alaska Highway, she wrote to the committee suggesting that an art show be put on at the art centre featuring paintings and drawings by Canadian war artists who were brought up to paint the Alaska Highway Project. A wonderful idea! And who else would have thought of that!

The work had been stored unseen for many years in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and the National Gallery of Canada.

Pat Ellis

Whitehorse