Elders Judy Gingell, right, and Sam Johnston, watch a video about their original trip to Ottawa in 1973 during a presentation commemorating the 45th year of Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow in Whitehorse on Jan. 30, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon elders mark 45th anniversary of landmark document

Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow launched movement toward treaties for Yukon First Nations

It’s been 45 years since Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow was presented to the federal government.

In 1973, a delegation travelled to Ottawa and spoke with then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau about negotiating a modern-day treaty that would give Yukon First Nations independence and self-governing authority.

Elders Judy Gingell and Sam Johnston, both of whom were part of that delegation, remember little things about that visit — what it was like to leave the Yukon for the first time, trying to decide what to wear to meet with the Prime Minister, how it felt to walk into the House of Commons.

“This was all new to us,” Gingell told a crowd of more than 100 people gathered at Yukon College Jan. 30 for a discussion commemorating the event.

“To go to Ottawa and present this document was a real eye-opener.”

“Now tomorrow, for me, is here today,” said Gingell, a member of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. “We have a lot of young leaders. You look around, you see a lot of young leaders at council level. Running for chiefs, running for central organization, running for the national organization. This is what we want to see. It’s here.”

Gingell and Johnston, who served as chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council for 14 years, answered questions from moderator Brian MacDonald, assistant deputy minister of aboriginal relations with the Yukon government.

They also took questions from the audience during the first of what will be a series of discussions (presented by Yukon College and YG) about the past, present and future of Yukon First Nations’ self-government and land claims.

“We didn’t have a say in things we had to live by,” said Johnston, remembering what things were like when the document was originally drawn up.

He said chiefs were getting together to talk about what they wanted for younger people in their communities.

Gingell said the First Nations were governed for a long time by the Indian Act. She called the act discriminatory, particularly toward First Nations women (First Nations women who married non-Indigenous men lost their status under the act, as did any future children).

“We did not want the future to go through what we had lived,” said Gingell. “It was not a very nice way that we lived and we wanted to make it better.”

Elijah Smith, then-chief of KDFN, initially thought it would take six months to negotiate the modern-day treaty.

Both Johnston and Gingell said some of the issues raised by the document still need addressing, and responsibility for that falls to everyone in the territory.

“It belongs to all the people of the Yukon,” said Gingell.

Gingell said that when decisions are made in the territory, they should be made with a copy of the document on the desk.

“When you’re going to start to do something, start looking at these agreements,” she said. “What part of those land claims agreements are you applying here?

“If you just plan, talk about it, and make no reference to them, that’s not implementation.”

The College and YG plan to host approximately four more discussions before June. Information will be posted on the Yukon College Facebook page.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com 

Yukon First Nations

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

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read