Vuntut Gwitchin won’t join Peel lawsuits

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation will not pursue legal action against the Yukon government over its new plan for the Peel watershed, Chief Joe Linklater confirmed Tuesday.

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation will not pursue legal action against the Yukon government over its new plan for the Peel watershed, Chief Joe Linklater confirmed Tuesday.

About 40 people showed up to a special general assembly in Old Crow Saturday, he said.

The primary purpose was to update the government’s constitution, said Linklater. But it was also a chance to update the community on the Peel.

While other affected First Nations have come forward with lawsuits against the government over its new plan for the Peel, there had been little word from Vuntut Gwitchin leadership.

More than a dozen community members participated in a solidarity walk earlier this month, carrying signs expressing support for protection of the Peel.

But it was not in Vuntut Gwitchin’s best interest to join the lawsuits against the government, said Linklater.

The three other First Nations with traditional territory in the watershed have all said they will sue over the government’s plan, which opens up 71 per cent of the area to new mineral staking.

But the Vuntut Gwitchin’s traditional territory only accounts for a small part of the watershed, mostly along northern portions of the Dempster corridor.

Linklater estimated that Vuntut Gwitchin territory makes up less than three per cent of the whole watershed.

And in those areas, the government’s new plan looks pretty much the same as what was in the in the plan recommended by the planning commission.

“We’ve gotten, substantially, everything that was in the recommended plan,” said Linklater. “So legal counsel had said there really is no legal fight for the Vuntut Gwitchin as far as the Peel.”

But the First Nation and the community still support the final recommended plan and the legal action launched by the other First Nations, said Linklater.

“We explained to our members, this doesn’t stop anybody from supporting the protection of the Peel, but from strictly our government’s perspective there is no fight there. And when you look at the cost of going to court, the benefit that we would get out of it – there’s nothing more for us to benefit as far as our traditional territory goes.”

Many at the meeting said they would like to see the First Nation do more, but they understood why legal action was not the right way, said Linklater.

Community members asked chief and council to reach out to the other three First Nations and express support for their action, he said.

“We said we would definitely do that, that we do support them in their efforts to protect the Peel.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read