Search for "Yukon"

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Faro

Faro, Yukon, incorporated as a town in 1972, population 348 (2016 census), 344 (2011 census). The town of Faro is located 6 km north of the Campbell Highway, 192 km by air northeast of Whitehorse.

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Carcross

Carcross, Yukon, settlement, population 301 (2016 census), 289 (2011 census). Carcross is a major Tagish and Tlingit community located at the north end of Bennett Lake, 74 km south of Whitehorse.

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Ross River

Ross River, Yukon, settlement, population 293 (2016 census), 352 (2011 census). Ross River is located at the confluence of the Ross and Pelly rivers. It is on the Canol Road (seeCanol Pipeline) at the halfway point on the Campbell Highway. Ross River is 360 km by road northeast of Whitehorse.

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Teslin

Teslin, Yukon, incorporated as a village in 1984, population 124 (2016 census), 122 (2011 census). The village of Teslin is located on Teslin Lake at the mouth of the Nisutlin River. It is on the Alaska Highway, 183 km by road southeast of Whitehorse.

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Geography of Yukon

The Yukon is divided by three of Canada’s seven physiographic regions. The vast majority of the territory is within the Cordillera region, while small, northern portions belong to the Arctic Lands and Interior Plains. Geographically the bulk of the Yukon is a subarctic plateau interspersed by mountains. The major exception is the Arctic Coastal Plain, a narrower eastward continuation of the same region in Alaska, which slopes down to the Beaufort Sea from the British Mountains inland.

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First Nations in Yukon

There are 14 First Nations in Yukon. First Nation is one of three groupings of Indigenous people in Canada, the other two being Métis and Inuit. Unlike the majority of First Nations in Canada, who are governed by the Indian Act, 11 of Yukon’s First Nations are self-governing (see Self-Governing First Nations in Yukon). First Nations in Yukon belong to eight language groups (see Indigenous Languages). Seven of these languages are part of the Athapaskan language family, namely Gwich’in, Hän, Upper Tanana, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tagish and Kaska. The eighth language, Tlingit, is distantly related to the Athapaskan language family.

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Tahltan Bear Dog

The Tahltan (pronounced tall-tan) bear dog was one of five dog breeds recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club as uniquely Canadian (see also Dogs in Canada). Although the name of the breed suggests it was only kept by the Tahltan Nation of Northwestern British Columbia, the dog was common among other First Nations in the region, too. These included the Tlingit, Tagish, Kaska and Sekani. The Tahltan people referred to it as “our dog,” which gave the breed its name. Indigenous peoples used the Tahltan bear dog in sustenance hunting— primarily for bear— an activity in which it excelled. The breed went extinct in the in the 1970s or 80s.

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Shaaw Tláa (Kate Carmack)

Shaaw Tláa (a.k.a Kate Carmack), (born c. 1857-1867 near present-day Bennett Lake, YT; died 29 March 1920 in Carcross, YT). A Tagish woman, Shaaw Tláa (pronounced Shaw Claw) was part of the group that discovered gold near the Klondike River in 1896, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush. She and her husband George Carmack, a white American, had spent a decade in search of gold in the Yukon. They made $1 million from their gold claim; however, George later abandoned her and she was unsuccessful in suing for her half of the fortune.

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Self-Governing First Nations in Yukon

There are 14 First Nations in Yukon. Eleven of these nations are self-governing, while the remaining three are governed under the Indian Act. The 11 self-governing First Nations have legislative and executive powers much like a province or territory. In 1993, they signed the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) with the governments of Canada and Yukon. The UFA served as the foundation for individual self-governing agreements made between each First Nation and the territorial and federal governments. These individual agreements were signed between 1993 and 2006. (See also Comprehensive Land Claims.) While the focus of this article is the 11 self-governing First Nations, the remaining three First Nations in Yukon are White River, Liard and Ross River.

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Inuit

Inuit — Inuktitut for “the people” — are an Indigenous people, the majority of whom inhabit the northern regions of Canada. An Inuit person is known as an Inuk. The Inuit homeland is known as Inuit Nunangat, which refers to the land, water and ice contained in the Arctic region.

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Klondike Gold Rush

The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896 led to a stampede to the Klondike region between 1897 and 1899. This led to the establishment of Dawson City (1896) and subsequently, the Yukon Territory (1898).

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Transportation in the North

Inuit and subarctic Indigenous peoples have traversed the North since time immemorial. Indigenous knowledge and modes of transportation helped early European explorers and traders travel and survive on these expanses. Later settlement depended to an extraordinary degree on the development of transportation systems. Today, the transportation connections of northern communities vary from place to place. While the most remote settlements are often only accessible by air, some have road, rail and marine connections. These are often tied to industrial projects such as mines.

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Berger Commission

In 1974, the federal government formed a royal commission to consider two proposals for natural gas pipelines in the North. Thomas Berger, a judge, led the inquiry. Over the next two years, the Berger Commission assessed the potential impacts of the proposed pipelines. Berger held formal and informal hearings. These included 45 community hearings from the Northwest Territories and Yukon to Southern Canada. His 1977 report made several recommendations. He called for further study and the settlement of Indigenous land claims. He also called for a 10-year ban on pipeline construction in the Mackenzie Valley. Berger opposed building any pipeline across the sensitive caribou habitat of the northern Yukon. The Berger Commission involved the public and included Indigenous views more than any resource-related consultation had done before in Canada.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Canadian Arctic Sovereignty

Arctic sovereignty is a key part of Canada’s history and future. The country has 162,000 km of Arctic coastline. Forty per cent of Canada’s landmass is in its three northern territories. Sovereignty over the area has become a national priority for Canadian governments in the 21st century. There has been growing international interest in the Arctic due to resource development, climate change, control of the Northwest Passage and access to transportation routes. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in 2008, “The geopolitical importance of the Arctic and Canada’s interests in it have never been greater.”