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Dawson First Nation funded for historic site

Ottawa has given the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation more than $200,000.

Ottawa has given the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation more than $200,000.

The money will pay back the Dawson City-based First Nation for work it did over the summer to the Tr’ochek National Historic Site, seasonal heritage site co-ordinator Alex Brook said.

The area, largely known as the land that juts out at the confluence of the Yukon and Klondike rivers just as you enter the town, has gone full circle, Brook added.

In fact, the recognition of Tr’ochek as a National Historic Site confirms the end of a second full circle.

Originally a traditional Han fishing camp, because of its convenient location in the salmon runs, the area was taken over by the gold rush.

It became the “industrial district” of the stampeders camp town and the First Nation evacuated it.

That is until the stampeders left and aboriginal families from Fort Selkirk resettled there.

In the 1990s, miners took it over again.

What resulted was a long, drawn-out court case and, eventually, the area was included into the First Nation’s land claim and final agreement.

It was with the signing of those agreements that the site was reclaimed by the First Nation, which deemed it a heritage site.

Last summer was the public recognition of Tr’ochek as a National Historic Site, Brook said.

The goal of last summer’s work on the site, and the work that will continue this coming season, is to keep the area’s natural character.

While the forest has reclaimed a lot of what used to be, some trails are being recleared, some footbridges and a boat dock are being built and a couple toilets will be added to the site.

“It will be managed more or less like a city park, but with all of this special history with it,” said Brook. “They have done quite a bit of archeology there and it’s quite rich. And there’s still quite a bit of evidence of the gold rush there.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at