Wildlife, education top agenda at Yukon Forum

‘All these measures need to be discussed at a higher level’

CARCROSS

Yukon First Nations and the territorial government have established a new working group to discuss issues and priorities related to the environment.

Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver made the announcement following a meeting of the Yukon Forum at the Carcross Learning Centre — located on the traditional territory of Carcross/Tagish First Nation — the morning of June 18.

Johnston said the working group, whose members have yet to be selected, will be able to offer direction and prioritize work on issues concerning the environment, such as aligning the territorial Wildlife Act with Yukon First Nations self-government agreements, how game guardians and conservation officers can work together, the impact of development on the land and hunting management.

“There’s discussions about having a hundred new hunters in the Yukon. (We need to discuss) the impacts of what that looks like, not only to the traditional areas of the First Nations but also the sustainability of such things as moose, caribou, there’s things that we need to be very cognizant of going forward,” Johnston said.

“All these measures need to be discussed at a higher level, and that’s why the formation of the working group will allow us to define some of the priorities we need to discuss going forward.”

The Yukon Forum also discussed education priorities Monday, with Carcross/Tagish First Nation Chief Andy Carville raising the possibility of creating a First Nations school and other Yukon First Nations, including Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Teslin Tlingit Council, offering insight on how collaborations with their local schools have worked.

Johnston and Silver both said that Yukon First Nations are trying to establish common grounds on what education and education-delivery priorities are, and how to create a framework that addresses the unique needs of each Yukon First Nation.

“(The conversation on education is) very broad in the sense of not only how we deal with language and implementing the traditional ways and doings of each respective nation when it comes to how their school is being reflected in that, but also to have, you know, more discussion on the joint education action plan, which has a number of different priorities being already established from 2014 to 2024,” Johnston said.

“We need to build that unified perspective in order, like I said, to make substantial change to the system that we’re dealing with such as education.”

Silver said that the June 18 meeting, the second Yukon Forum of the year, was held very close to the first one in May but “there was a priority there with education and we really needed to make sure we’re all on the right foot … and making sure that the chiefs have a governance structure or a way of moving forward that allows us to proceed and we’re all on the same page.”

“When it comes to education, we all agree that we need to do more,” Silver said, adding that the day’s discussions had been “productive.”

The next Yukon Forum will be hosted by Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in in September.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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