Jan 29, 1964 – Apr 8, 2018
With deep sadness, the family of Joseph Arthur Linklater announces his passing on April 8 in Old Crow. Joe was chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation from 1998 to 2010 and then from 2012 to 2014. He was known, loved and respected as a visionary leader and fierce advocate for Gwitchin self-government, the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the calving grounds for the Porcupine Caribou herd, and Indigenous rights and self-determination overall.
He was an incredible storyteller with a legendary sense of humour and biting wit. He was well known far and wide not only in his beloved village of Old Crow, but throughout the Yukon and across the circumpolar north. He had an immense love for all of his people, from babies to elders.
Joe was the youngest child born to Emily (Thompson) Linklater of the Tetlit Gwich’in and Charles Linklater of the Vuntut Gwitchin, in Inuvik, N.W.T. When his father retired from Northern Canada Power Commission, the family moved to Whitehorse, where Joe attended high school. He studied carpentry and northern resources at Yukon College.
He moved to Old Crow, where he became a councillor with VGFN in the early 1990s before being elected chief. Old Crow was his home. During his years as chief, he represented his people around the world, including Washington, DC, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. He was a leader in the Arctic Council and Gwich’in Council International, National Aboriginal Business Council andon the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, board of trustees of the Vuntut Development Trust, and the Vuntut Development Corporation.
Most recently, Joe was executive director of the Vuntut Gwitchin. While he did not have children of his own, he cherished and doted on his nieces and nephews, and his elders. They were the light of his life.
Joe will be missed dearly forever, but his memory and legacy will live on in them for years to come.
Joe is predeceased by his parents Charles and Emily Linklater and sister Effie DeBastien. Joe is survived by his loving family: sisters Olive, Clara (Remie), Kathryn, Donna, Susie, brothers Charles, Leonard (Patti), nieces Erika, Paige, Erin, Sophia, Emily, Crystal, Laura and others, nephew Dana, cousins including Lena, Ethel, Stewart, Millie, Trudy, Katherine, Helen, Charles, Maggie, Jimmy, Irwin, Ronald, Howard, and Norman, along with many more great nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
A funeral will be held in Old Crow, Yukon on Friday, April 13th at 2:00 pm.
A memorial will be held in Whitehorse at a date to be determined.