Vuntut Gwitchin chief Dana Tizya-Tramm and the other Northern Yukon First Nations Chiefs, Roberta Joseph and Simon Mervyn met to dicuss areas of concern. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Vuntut Gwitchin chief Dana Tizya-Tramm and the other Northern Yukon First Nations Chiefs, Roberta Joseph and Simon Mervyn met to dicuss areas of concern. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Three issues identified in Northern First Nations Chiefs meeting

The Dawson Regional Land Use Plan, oil and gas activity, and drugs and alcohol were identified as three priority issues for the three Northern First Nations Chiefs

The northern Yukon First Nation chiefs are calling three priorities to the attention of the new territorial government.

Dana Tizya-Tramm of Vuntut Gwitchin, Roberta Joseph of Tr‘ondëk Hwëch’in, and Simon Mervyn of Na-Cho Nyak Dun met this month.

“Really, this is about joint action and collaboration among the most northern First Nations. I think this is an indication and reflection of our deep ties as a nation,” said Tizya-Tramm.

“As modern treaty First Nations we wield a lot of power, but when we conglomerate over these unifying keystones for our communities this is where we can really increase our capacities and look at those simple solutions that we all face together.”

The three northern chiefs identified three issues of priority: the Dawson Regional Land Use Plan, oil and gas activity and drugs and alcohol.

Tizya-Tramm said all three issues are longstanding and weighted equally.

Dawson Regional Land Use Plan

The chiefs were united in wanting the development of collaborative land use plans within their traditional territories, and are seeking the opportunity to present to the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission on the urgency of climate change in the region.

“When all of our First Nations face industry by ourselves it takes a lot of capacity,” said Tizya-Tramm. “When we create these conduits between our governments, we strengthen ourselves.”

The three chiefs concluded that climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate with impacts on rivers, harvest patterns, wildlife and the “spiritual, cultural, mental and physical well-being of First Nations people,” according to a press release issued by the three nations.

“Land use planning has to be a priority for not just the Yukon, but the Canadian government,” said Tizya-Tramm. “Land use planning, we see as a major vision not just for the Yukon, but for the entire country. The northern chiefs are really reflecting a greater opportunity for the country.”

Oil and gas activity

Oil and gas issues affecting the chiefs’ respective communities were discussed concerning aging wells and Chance Oil and Gas Limited’s outstanding lawsuit against the Yukon government over the 2015 fracking moratorium.

The Chiefs reaffirmed their stance on fracking.

“We do not support and do not advocate fracking,” said Tizya-Tramm. “This is something that is ubiquitous across First Nations.”

The three chiefs also reaffirmed their commitments to uphold the “standard of free, prior, and informed consent, guided by the treaties and land use planning, to ensure the fundamental objective of sustainable development enshrined in their treaties is respected by government and industry.”

In working with the Yukon government, the chiefs remain committed to addressing shared priorities relating to the sustainable development of oil and gas resources.

Drugs and alcohol

The struggles of the chiefs’ respective communities with drugs and alcohol were discussed and the belief in on-the-land programming was reiterated.

They’re prepared to work together on community-led initiatives and lobby for increased awareness for community-specific issues.

“This is a First Nations based led effort to bringing together and galvanizing our health and social departments,” said Tizya-Tramm. “We are looking at things like a youth healing conference where all the youth of Mayo, Old Crow and Dawson can come together and begin these conversations for themselves.”

Although the issues are complex, Tizya-Tramm said the First Nations aren’t practicing anything new.

“This is us practicing our traditions in a new world,” said Tizya-Tramm. “We aren’t afraid of this new world but the question we are facing is how are our principles going to guide how we wield modern tools today?

“Nothing will replace the value of our people coming together again and pulling fish, hunting together, and having these conversations.”

The meeting, said Tizya-Tramm, was a way for the chiefs to stand by their beliefs.

“These forums are the opportunity for us to stand by our convictions and honour our elders in the thread that permeates all First Nations which is the protections of our lands and our animals,” said Tizya-Tramm.

Contact John Tonin at john.tonin@yukon-news.com

Yukon First Nations

Just Posted

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file
Catherine Elliott, Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, has announced two new COVID-19 cases in the Yukon.
Two new COVID-19 cases confirmed, Porter Creek Secondary prom cancelled

Graduating students are encouraged to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Runners leave the start line of the 2014 Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay Skagway. The 2021 race will start at checkpoint six and remain in the Yukon only. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)
Klondike Road Relay returns to in-person after a virtual year

A modified, in-person Klondike Road Relay will be open to Yukoners

John Tonin/Yukon News Rang Pillai speaks at the Great Yukon Summer press conference on May 27.
‘The sooner the better’: Operators react to Great Yukon Summer campaign

The Great Yukon Summer campaign was announced May 27 and begins June 4

Most Read