Yukon’s First Nations Party

Gerald Dickson Sr. had given up on voting. "I don't vote because I do not like other people speaking on my behalf," he said.

Gerald Dickson Sr. had given up on voting.

“I don’t vote because I do not like other people speaking on my behalf,” he said. “As a First Nations person, I mean, they can’t.”

Instead, Dickson has decided to run in the upcoming territorial election under the banner of the newly formed First Nations Party.

He will be seeking election in the Kluane riding, in the traditional territory of his First Nation.

And while he admits it is last minute, Dickson hasn’t formed the party for himself.

Elders from many First Nation communities in the territory have encouraged him, he said.

And he is not alone.

Carcross elder Stanley James has already joined the roster as the party’s candidate for the Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes riding.

And on Thursday, Dickson was in talks with another possible candidate from Ross River, who would potentially run in the Pelly-Nisutlin riding.

Dickson, who is the leader of the new party, is a carpenter by trade and has sat on his First Nation’s council for several terms, the first time at the age of 17, he said.

He was brought up traditionally and over the years has heard the voices of his elders ignored more and more, he said.

“Our elders are not being heard,” said Dickson, adding that it is not just the public governments, but many times also First Nation governments that are ignoring elders’ guidance.

The trend is most obvious when looking at managing the environment, said Dickson.

“Carmacks elders said to stop fishing 15, 20 years ago,” he said. “But the elders have to wait for the minister to make that final decision. When the elders say stop the fishing – stop the fishing. You don’t have to go and test it.

“Rather than having nonnatives speaking on my behalf, or First Nations’ behalf, or elders’ behalf, we have to speak for ourselves.

“So that’s my goal. To establish in the legislature a parallel decision-making process, using the elders’ knowledge as a guiding tool. So you’ll see a brownface standing there, arguing for our points. Using the traditional knowledge as a guiding tool to manage our natural resources. That’s what it’s all about.”

It is the long-term insight of traditional knowledge that motivates Dickson the most. Current governments only discuss what they are going to do now, they never talk about what leaders seven generations later will have to do, he said.

And climate change is not some far-off hypothesis, said Dickson.

“We’re facing a different kind of climate change right now,” he said, mentioning an issue he has championed in the past: the Aishihik dam. “The ducks moved out, because of that dam. There’s no more beaver, muskrats or ducks or fish that came back because animals are smart too. When stuff happens too many times, they move out. But they want to create another dam in Gladstone, to stop the water from going in Kluane. But the elders say they don’t want to see it happen again.”

The new party only began forming two weeks ago, after receiving 165 signatures of support from Whitehorse alone.

They received official registration from Elections Yukon on Tuesday, September 6. And the party platform is still taking form, said Dickson.

He knows it’s short notice, but the goal is to get the ball rolling, he said.

“I just want to see change, even if nothing really happens right now,” he said. “At least someone, down the road, might get in or be accepted. We need to try and make a difference. Maybe it will wake up the First Nations too. For me, I don’t care. I got nothing to lose. It’s what the elders wanted. For now, I just wanted to let people know what we’re doing and what it’s all about.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at


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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read