You won’t find a more homogeneous group of Yukon voters than in the electoral district of Vuntut Gwitchin.
Since it was created in 1977, the riding has ensured political representation of the 300 or so residents of Old Crow, the territory’s most isolated, traditional community.
Almost all people in Old Crow are of Gwich’in heritage, and many of them live subsistence lifestyles, hunting caribou and trapping muskrat.
Though the Vuntut Gwitchin’s continuing fight to protect the Porcupine caribou herd grabs national headlines, politicians looking for votes in the ballot box must think smaller.
That means putting Old Crow first.
“The community as a whole cares about community issues,” said Lorraine Peter, the riding’s current MLA from the New Democratic Party.
“The main issue is the economy, to keep our people working throughout all seasons, not only in the summertime,” she said.
Trappers would like to be able to trap but because of high food and gas prices they often can’t, she said.
“We have a lot of social concerns that we need to address for our community in regards to alcohol and drug treatment, and also for follow-up programs for people who do attend these programs,” said Peter.
While the riding’s MLA must fight for community issues, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation chief Joe Linklater often jets off to Washington DC to lobby US senators against drilling in ANWR — without Premier Dennis Fentie as a travelling companion.
That may hurt the Yukon Party’s chances in Vuntut Gwitchin in 2006.
Lorraine Peter, NDP, lives in Old Crow, incumbent
William Josie, Yukon Party, lives in Old Crow, first time running for territorial office
Darius Elias, Liberal, lives in Old Crow, first time running for territorial office
How Vuntut Gwitchin voted in 2002:
Lorraine Peter, NDP, 68 votes
Randall Tetlichi, YP, 41 votes
Joe Tetlichi, Liberals, 34 votes
Percentage of electors who voted
Did you know?
The range of the Porcupine caribou herd stretches from west of Beaver, Alaska, to the east of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, and from the coast of the Yukon on the Beaufort Sea south almost to Dawson City. (TQ)