|The Yukon Queen has been the subject of controversy on and off ever since she was launched. Photo by Heather Robb|
Welcome to the July 20, 2001 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 26 photographs and 32 articles which were in the 28-page July 17 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle and, obviously, all the material you won't find here. See what you're missing by not subscribing?
Seriously, we do encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun (details on the home page). It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. About 600 people read each issue of this paper online, and we'd love to be sending out that many more papers.
by Heather Robb
The Dawson District Renewable Resources Council has initiated a working group to address complaints from members of the Dawson community about Holland America's tour boat, The Yukon Queen. The Queen carries tourists from Dawson to Eagle and back daily during the summer.
"We're very concerned with the process- the form of it, and being open with each other about information," said Jake Duncan, the DDRRC's representative on the working group.
The first meeting (on July fourth) was attended by Duncan and Marcia Jordan from the Council, Tr'ondek Hwech'in representative Steve Caram, Yukon Salmon Committee representative Jerry Couture, Dawson Chamber of Commerce representative Dick Van Nostrand, Yukon River Commercial Fishing Association representative Sebastian Jones and Holland America Tours (HAT) representative Saralee Snider.
"We agreed by consensus that we're committed to finding a way that we can both have the boat operate and the issues dealt with," said Duncan.
At the next meeting on July 17 the group may also include an elder from the Tr'ondek Hwech'in. The Klondike Visitor's Association may send a representative (or else Van Nostrum will represent the KVA as well as the Chamber). HAT will be represented by the Queen's captain, Al Bruce, HAT regional manager Gideon Garcia, and possibly others.
"This is a positive step. We're looking for a community-based solution and fair compromise. There's been a lot of complaints from First Nations citizens, and we hope to address them," said Caram.
Bruce also spoke adamantly about working at the community level.
"This has to work. This is a big issue and we have to be extremely careful.. We have to make sure this works properly, so that when it's finished and done with, people will walk away feeling that something has come out of it," said Bruce. He's been captain of the Yukon Queen since the tour started fourteen summers ago.. And he's been hearing complaints about the boat since "the first day [he] set foot in this town."
The complaints fall into three categories- navigation and safety issues, the boat's effect on habitat due to bank erosion, and the boat's impact on salmon fry.
"I am concerned about its effect on the environment and fish habitat," said Jones.
He has been fishing on the Yukon River since 1984; due to stock depletion, he no longer makes his living as a fisher.
"When the water is high, the boat's wake causes massive erosion on the shore. The river hasn't evolved with waves like a lake. The shore is soft silt and sand, and is held together with trees. So when you get a big boat going by twice a day all summer, you've got all kinds of trees falling into the water. If you take a trip down the river, you can see which channels the boat takes- the shore is washed away, eroded while the other side is shelved with vegetation," said Jones.
Duncan stated that because of the multiple factors which contribute to bank erosion, studying the harm caused by the Yukon Queen would be extremely difficult.
However, the boat's impact on fry can, and is currently being studied, according to Duncan.
The DDRRC has directed Duncan, who is also the stewardship coordinator (usually referred to as the habitat steward), to conduct a study over the summer that will determine how significantly the boat is harming fish.
"The results are pending," he said.
Jones believes the impact is significant.
"During the out migration of salmon fry, they tend to hang out at the mouth of creeks where the water is clear. The big waves wash them up on the beach. Some of them make it back in, but there's some that don't. It has especially been a concern in the last few years when the salmon numbers are so low, " he said.
Bruce stated that he is not aware of any evidence that suggests the boat is causing serious harm to fish.
"We're interested in supporting a study based in scientific principle and quantifiable data by a non-biased party to ascertain if our boat, and other vessels on the river are doing harm to fish," he said.
"It would be a corporate decision as to how to proceed with recommendations by the working group or the Council," he added.
Gerry Coukell, the Chief of Conservation and Protection for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is aware of concerns about the Queen, but has only ever received one official complaint, which was filed last summer. Because the Yukon River is classified as navigable waters (due to its history as a major trade route), it falls under the jurisdiction of the Shipping Act. In response to the complaint, the Coast Guard was sent to check out the boat (unannounced) and found that it met all requirements under the Shipping Act.
Coukell is not aware of any environmental regulations pertaining to motorboats under the Shipping Act.
He stated that if a legal case was made against the Queen, it would most likely involve section 35 (1) of the Fisheries Act which states: "No person shall carry on any work or undertaking that results in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat."
As far as he knows, the DFO has never studied the Queen's effects on fish habitat.
"It would be time consuming and extremely costly to know the actual effects," he said. He added that it would take a formal complaint about harmful alteration to fish habitat for the DFO to undergo an investigation.
"A study would have to involve a specific area, and it would have to show the impact on fish habitat, and prove that there is alteration, and that the alteration is harmful, and what caused it and that it wasn't caused by anything else. It is not impossible to study, but it would be very involved in terms of dollars and manpower."
If there was evidence of harmful alteration, Coukell remarked that the DFO would then "proceed to determine whether enforcement is necessary or if there is another method of mitigation."
Jones said that he's been writing letters to the government for years expressing his concern about the boat's environmental impact. He believes that the government has never taken any action because of Holland America's status as a large multinational corporation.
"They have political connections and clout. It's very hard, as one person, to do anything about it," he said. He added that he feels the situation has improved since the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Final Agreement was signed, and the DDRRC was created.
The DDRRC is comprised of both First Nations and non First Nations members, and is responsible for representing public interest and making recommendations to the government about matters "that affect the management and Conservation of Forestry, Fish and Wildlife" in Tr'ondek Hwech'in traditional territory, according to the THFA.
Jones stated that some commercial fishers "are far more radical in their dislike of the boat [than he], while some are far more enamored."
"I'd say that I'm about in the middle."
Ideally, Jones would like to see the boat slow down significantly.
"While it would be really satisfying to see them get shut down and hauled off to jail, I realize that that would have an impact on the community. I make my living off of tourism now, and I understand how much we need it," he said.
"I think it would help if they made the trip [to Eagle] in 10 to 12 hours rather than four to six."
However, Bruce argued that at a slower speed, the boat has a larger wake.
Jones stated that he's also committed to the success of the working group.
"We don't want it to look like a witch hunt. But we've got to face up to the fact that a significant environmental crime is being committed and we want to see it stopped."
Bruce likes the idea of a community-based solution , though he admitted he is a little nervous about the group's intentions.
"We have a huge impact in this community. I employ eight people directly and the company has 90-100 employees in Dawson. We're definitely part of the equation. This is not a small issue," he said.
by Michael Gates
The Dawson Museum celebrated the opening of the new John G. Lind storage facility and gave a preview of its soon-to-be opened Lind Gallery at a warm and friendly gathering on Friday, June 29th at the museum.
Sparked by a significant private donation from the Lind family of Ontario, the museum has been able to develop a long needed collection storage facility to house its exciting collection of gold rush and community artifacts and has nearly completed a new exhibit gallery that expands the focus of the museum beyond gold rush commemoration. This was the official opening for the storage facility.
While the museum has long been noted for a variety of heritage achievements, it has long been deprived of a place to properly house and preserve these vital links to the community's past. In fact, for some years now, the museum has been forced to house a significant portion of its collection in aging and decrepit abandoned buildings and truck containers as a temporary solution. All of that has changed.
The event started with a series of brief presentations. Museum director Paul Thistle got things under way by explaining the way in which the storage and exhibit projects were made possible. Initial funding from the Lind family acted as the catalyst for financial support from other agencies, such as the Heritage Branch of the Yukon Territorial Government, the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Community Development Fund, to name a few. Thistle also acknowledged the contributions of all the staff to the successful completion of the project.
As an invited speaker, I was pleased to spend a few minutes talking to the assembled group of family members, museum staff and guests about certain technical innovations incorporated into the design of the new storage facility which will enable it to maintain vitally important levels of humidity necessary to long-term preservation.
Member of Parliament Larry Bagnell attended the event and gave a brief but warm acknowledgment of the museum's accomplishment.
Phil and Geoff Lind both spoke on behalf of the assembled Lind family members to express their appreciation for what the museum has been able to achieve with their support. Phil spoke movingly of the connection his family has through John Grieve Lind, who came to the Yukon before the gold rush to make his fortune, and through circumstance and hard work, was able to return home with a legacy that enriched succeeding generations of the Lind family. This was the opportunity to acknowledge, humbly, the origins of the good fortune that has enabled one family to fulfill its Canadian dream.
In an emotional and moving speech, Phil Lind expressed his sadness that his father Walter (Jed) Lind had passed away before being able to attend this opening, and how important this opportunity has been to give back to Dawson some of the bounty that the family has enjoyed because of the gold rush.
Geoff Lind rose and spoke briefly, repeating and reinforcing what his brother had already said.
Following the speeches, a ribbon at the entrance the new storage facility, located immediately to the south of the museum, was cut, and tours of the facility followed.
The new building is a state of the art facility for a small northern museum. Guests were shown the new compactable storage system, which consists of shelf units, which are designed to move back and forth to create an access aisle, thus making maximum use of the limited space within the building for the purpose of housing the community treasures.
Several thousand artifacts have been recently relocated to this new facility, and important information about each object and photos have been on a computerized data base, thus making it possible to easily identify the appearance and location of each object in storage, as well as making possible easier research of the objects in the collection. Museum staff Ann Saunders, Sue Parsons and Julia Pike were on hand to demonstrate how this new system works.
After the tour of the storage facility was completed everyone was hosted to an outdoor barbecue under pleasant sunny skies. Members and friends of the museum board of trustees were on hand to flip burgers and ensure that everyone was well fed. After lunch, Paul Thistle gave thanks to all who participated in the development of the exhibit, and introduced them to the museum guests. Sally Robinson, who was originally contracted to research and design the new Lind pre-gold rush exhibit, gave a brief introduction, and invited the assembled guests into the nearly complete gallery. What they saw was a series of displays which chronicle the history of the region prior to the gold rush. Prominent in the exhibit were traditional objects donated by Annie Henry to portray Han lifestyle during this period of rapid change.
Also prominent in the exhibit are the displays revealing the early trade network which linked the Han people to the Chilkat Tlingit on the coast prior to the European invasion. The drawing of the famed Kohklux map is portrayed. Also featured are the early trading posts, a model of Fortymile, early transportation, and lifestyle then and now and mining technology in the early days.
An interactive map of the region is intended to engage the viewer in exploring the early history. The display of the key figures involved in the discovery of the Klondike concludes the project. Also available will be a database compiled from numerous sources which lists the names of as many of the pre gold rush newcomers as have been documented to date.
The Lind family is neither new nor unfamiliar to the community of Dawson. They have been actively involved in the centennial celebrations of the past few years, starting in 1996, and continuing to the present. Characteristic of their visits is the energy and enthusiasm they display, and the numbers of the clan who descend upon the community at once. They don't just visit Dawson, they invade, invariably heightening the energy level around town during their stay.
Significant about their involvement with the community has been not only their enthusiasm, but the continuity. It is also rare to find a family so aware of the origins of its good fortune, and a willingness to return that to the community in a meaningful and lasting way. In that regard, the family has set a shining example of philanthropy and generosity, which will be a challenge for others to follow.
What seems increasingly rare these days is the willingness of people to examine their origins and making a connection between their past, the present, and, hopefully, the future.
by Heather Robb
"If a tree falls in the forest, and no one's there to hear it-?" And so on.
We Westerners can sure learn a lot about ourselves from our cliché pop-philosophies (which too often involve some half-baked claim of association with this or that sacred Eastern text.)
Try extending this philosophical approach to the problem of waste disposal: if an apple rots without witness- encompassed by the walls of a green garbage bag- does it really rot at all?
A question like this, even with the asinine factor, is pertinent to Anne Wichmann and Emmie Tsumura (Conservation Klondike Society staff members), as they walk through Quigley Dump making preparations for the CKS's compost pilot project- part of their new landfill contract with the City of Dawson.
They've got rotting organic matter, and the public's perception of it, on their minds.
"This place is amazing," said Tsumura, the CKS's summer student employee.
It's her first visit to the dump. Her awe is (perhaps) partly inspired by the few dozen ample-bodied ravens she's watching bob across the orange, green and white speckled field marked "Domestic Garbage."
This section of the dump is encircled by an electric fence, intended to keep animals out. The garbage is dumped at the back of the field, although plastic bags and other junk bits are scattered throughout, and particularly concentrated in pockets near the fence. The front of this field is where the compost will be piled, according to Wichmann.
Technically of course, the apple will rot- despite being trapped in the bag beside things like metal, plastic and Styrofoam.
Anaerobic microbes (those bacteria, fungi and other decomposers that do not require air) will eventually catch up with it, and make it dinner.
But in the meantime, that apple, along with the rest of the organics in the landfill, take up unnecessary space.
Herein lies the asinine factor: that sense of security the garbage bag gives us. On some level, the apple doesn't rot, it's just gone. That not-so-conscious assumption that by putting garbage in there, we actually get rid of it.
"[Organic] scraps make up a substantial portion of the garbage," said Wichmann, the CKS office manager and compost coordinator.
Joy Snyder, the current executive director of Raven Recycling, has offered her wisdom and encouragement to Wichmann in getting composting started in Dawson. Snyder has been involved in Whitehorse composting since it began in the late eighties, when the ROT program (Recycle Organics Together), operated by keen backyard composters (Snyder among them), proved "that you could compost in the North!"
She estimates that composting reduces the volume of domestic garbage by 50 percent.
Norm Carlson, the superintendent of public works for the City of Dawson, pointed out that reducing the volume of domestic garbage will save the City money on the burying costs associated with the domestic pit.
For now, Dawson's new pilot composting project is geared to businesses that deal with food.
"We're not collecting domestic garbage yet. However, if people want to bring out their stuff to the landfill, they're welcome to," said Wichmann.
The idea is simple. Businesses separate the organic from the non organic garbage, and mark the organic bags with fluorescent flagging tape. The City pays Callison Waste Management to collect the businesses' waste six times a week (same as before), to keep the two types of waste segregated, and then to deposit the organics into compost piles in the new compost section of the dump.
YTG has leased the City a bobcat to distribute the compost into piles.
"The initial benefit [of composting] is that we divert waste from piles of domestic landfill to something that's useful," said Wichmann.
Indeed, the apple will rot eventually- no matter where and with what it gets pitched. No matter who's watching. But human involvement can help.
Composting is a process of nurturing aerobic decomposition, in which air needing microbes devour the organics.
"It's a natural process that happens anyway. Things compost despite us. The goal is to manage the pile, combine the proper ratio [of elements] so that it composts faster," said Snyder.
Nurturing the life of aerobic microbes includes striking a balance between the "browns" (high in carbon) like dead leaves, straw and paper, and the "greens" (high in nitrogen) like food scraps, and ensuring the pile gets air and moisture.
"The compost needs aeration, to make sure air gets through the pile. So if it stinks too much it needs to be turned more," said Wichmann.
All food scraps, including meat and bones, are considered fair game for the composting pile.
"I work at the Triple J [kitchen] and I know that when it gets busy, people won't separate- so we might as well plan for it that way," said Tsumura.
Tsumura and Wichmann aren't concerned about the compost attracting animals because of the electric fence that surrounds the area.
"What difference does it make? The meat and bones are right there anyway, in bags. The compost is right beside the domestic garbage. And the ravens are welcome to it," said Wichmann.
According to Carlson, the City has plans to build a higher voltage fence around the entire dump.
Wichmann and Tsumura want to erect a non-electrical fence between the domestic garbage and the compost area to keep the plastic bags from blowing into the compost area- although they admit that a fence wouldn't stop the ravens from dropping the odd bit into the compost area.
"The other day I saw a raven in town at 8 am with a cup of coffee in his beak. Right side up," said Wichmann.
Tsumura proposed using up the reels of wire fence that she spotted in the metal pile as the dividing fence.
However, Carlson stated that such a fence is unnecessary since the compost will be moved away from the domestic garbage once the new electric fence is put in place.
In the meantime, it will be up to landfill attendant Denis Huot, and the newly hired assistant to remove the contaminants.
They'll also be responsible for turning the piles.
Huot thinks composting is a good idea, but is concerned that staff shortage will impede the project's success, as both he and Norm Carlson claim it did when the City tried composting a few years ago at the landfill.
"People don't know about compost and so they threw all kinds of stuff in there, like big tree trunks that take twenty years [to decompose]. Who's going to monitor that?," said Huot.
Wichmann, new to CKS, is optimistic that this project will be successful, since she has access to all kinds of information about composting, and has the support of Snyder and others in Whitehorse.
"The information is constantly evolving," she said.
Terry Bidniak, a program engineer for YTG's department of engineering and development, interviewed compost organizers in Whitehorse and took pictures of the compost projects for Wichmann. YTG is also helping to fund the project.
According to Snyder, restaurant compost collection in Whitehorse has presently ceased due to lack of funding.
"While we were running it, it was very successful. We had compost within the first year. In a big pile the stuff stays hot in the middle, and doesn't freeze through until January or February. That's still lots of time. In the spring when it thaws, it's like soup. That's when you mix in the browns, " she said.
For four years City of Whitehorse ran a pilot project called Waste Watch- in which they collected compost from residents in the Hillcrest area. This year they repiloted the project in the Crestview area, and will decide at the end of August whether to go city wide.
Raven Recycling is contracted to operate the compost facility at the City of Whitehorse Landfill.
Snyder advised Wichmann to have patience in the initial stages of composting.
"While we were starting residential collection, there was wax milk cartons, cardboard, different paper products in there- all of which are compostable. But it looked like nothing would ever happen. Then in a few weeks it was a brown pile of dirt. It's so amazing," she said.
Tsumura has been approaching food businesses over the past few weeks, asking them to participate. So far, she said, some are gung-ho. Others have previous arrangements for recycling their food scraps. Bonanza Meats, for example, donates their leftovers to a pig farm. Still other business managers are reluctant to participate because they feel they don't have enough food scraps to make separating worthwhile.
"There has to be one staff member who's keen. Some people argue that they don't have space, but in a kitchen there's not really a lot of garbage besides food," she said.
"Garbage takes up room anyway. Plus you can squish things and step on them," added Wichmann.
Snyder mentioned other benefits to reducing the amount of organics in the domestic pit.
"It's the organics in the landfill that create methane gas and leachate which causes ground water pollution. The leachate is acidic water that picks up the heavy metals and carries it through to ground water. So if you didn't have organics going into the landfill, you'd just have an inert pile," she said.
Visiting the dump is an important step in understanding why recycling projects like composting are so crucial. It can be a sort of existential awakening. It's like driving down the highway five minutes, turning off onto a gravel road and finding every little scrap- of bread or metal, dream or nightmare- that you ever thought you got rid of. Some of it takes on new charm- you'll want to throw it in your trunk and take it back home. Some of it stinks. It's kind of sublime.
by Jason Westover
Are you ready?
On Friday July 20th, the Dawson City Music Festival will begin!
Dawson City folks are gearing up for this three day extravaganza that will flood an extra 1200 or so people into the town. People from all over North America will come to embrace the northern culture, and it's style of Canadian music.
Six stages are set up around town, and a number of workshops are planned. Volunteers, merchants, vacationers and artists, are all eagerly awaiting the event-- which will no doubt be a successful and inspiring three days.
A festival of this magnitude takes time and effort to accomplish. Just ask the Festivals production Manager Dominic Lloyd who has the task of putting it all together.
"It's a full-time job for five months, and a half time job for seven months of the year."
Lloyd believes he's ready for the challenge. He'll be attending his 12th Dawson City Music Festive this year. He's produced three Dawson City music festivals so far since replacing Jen Edwards in 1998.
The 29 year old grew up in Whitehorse and has a B.A. in Canadian history and political science from Simon Fraser University. A full time resident of Dawson for the past five years, Lloyd says he's now working his dream job.
In addition to being the DCMF production manager, he's also the festival's artistic director and general manager. So he's got lots of responsibility-- especially at this time of year.
Lloyd is thrilled to be getting help this year. For the first time in his three years as production manager, he now has the help of an assistant production manager-- Stephen Jester.
Jester is also a volunteer coordinator, along with Justine Mckeller.
"It's actually a great difference having a volunteer coordinator in here and he will take great care to see that everybody's looked after," said Lloyd.
Fortunately, of course, Lloyd and Jester have lots of help-- from nearly three hundred volunteers who make the festival the success that it is.
"Everything that gets moved, bought, sold, lifted, processed, thrown, cooked, handed out, and cleaned up is done by volunteers." said Lloyd.
"It basically takes about two days to get things out of the park.
"It's amazing-- the amount of volunteer energy that goes to put this festival on," he added.
Again this year the main stage of the festival will be located at Minto Park. The tent was expanded in 2000 into a Y shape to allow an additional 100 people.
Last year's festival was plagued with clouds and rainy weather, so more precautions are being taken this year to keep people dry. The festival will also try to make things more interesting this year by having venues all over town. Daytime events will take place at places like Saint Paul's Church, Saint Mary's Church, the gazebo, and the Palace Grand Theater. Night venues will be held at Minto Park, Saint Paul's Church, Saint Mary's Church and the Odd Fellows Hall.
Lloyd wants to inform festival-goers that the Rheostatics will not play on Saturday-- only Friday and Sunday.
The Be Good Tanyas and the Mighty Popo will play on Friday and Saturday, while The Jazzberry Ram will play on Saturday.
The daytime concerts and workshops will start at around 12:30 p.m. and end at 5:00 p.m..
Kid's Fest has expanded this year. While it's usually located on the fifth avenue side of Minto Park, this year it will be held at the park's playground. It will run Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 p.m..
Jody Beaumont and Vera Holmes have put together a program that combines learning with music, finger painting, and instrument making, to create a fun environment for the children. Kid's fest is being organized the Dawson Daycare, Tr'inke Zho Daycare and the Women's Shelter Society.
Lloyd is adamant that people understand DCMF's policy on minors in the beer garden.
"Minors are allowed in the beer gardens while they are accompanied by a parent of a legal guardian. If you are under nineteen when the liquor license is in effect, that is to say Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., you must be accompanied by a parent. At 7:00 p.m. onwards (on all three nights) not only do you have to be accompanied by a parent, your parent has to have a ticket to the festival and you (your child) has to have a ticket as well. Children twelve and under get in free, but must be accompanied by a parent," he said.
What does the festival mean to Dawson businesses?
"In 1995, information collected by festival volunteers working under the bureau of Statistics figured out that the Music festival weekend left about $380,000 in the registers."
The weekend of music fest will be an exciting experience for all. There's something for everyone.
Day passes are available for purchase, and are good for all venues until 6:00 p.m..
Unfortunately (of course) all weekend passes are sold out. For those who do not have a weekend pass you will have to wait another year. But keep your ears open-- you can hear the music all around town.
For more info on the Dawson City Music Fest, you can log on to www.dcmf.com
by Aedes Scheer
The mosquito season is well underway and several residents have told me how bad (read: numerous and aggressive) the mosquitoes have been lately. So what's up? What is different from past years? And what the heck can you do about it?
Last summer's cool wet weather provided excellent habitat for mosquito females to lay their eggs. Mosquitoes hatched in droves from the standing stagnant water and, in turn, laid more eggs. What worked in our favour, marginally so that is, were the really chilly temperatures depressing the survival rate of the newly hatched mosquitoes. This summer has proven to be warmer and less rainy coupled with high water levels in the rivers. All those eggs laid last summer, laying dormant through the winter, hatched happily wherever water collects, and are surviving in greater numbers with the help of the warmer weather.
Dawson is not the only place in the Yukon feeling the sting of more mosquitoes. I have heard that Whitehorse backyards are just as swarming as those in the Klondike Valley. Residents in areas outside of the pesticide treatment area have commented that the bugs seem to be in greater numbers than in previous years.
(Aside: Do you think there might actually be something to this "global warming" thing? Duh, yah)
For those who are interested in chemicals, I have noticed that the brand of pesticide used this year will kill larva swimming in a mason jar of pond water in about six to eight hours. The brand used over the last few years generally kills larva, same set-up, in about one hour. Slight differences in activity could contribute to survival rate changes but this would necessitate further investigation and really is only speculation on my behalf.
During the recent warm weather I have noted that larva develop from the hatchling to adult in roughly two to three weeks. I try to apply the larvacide regularly in two-week intervals. What you can do are the following:
And if nothing else, remember that approximately half of those mosquitoes hatched will trouble you for a blood meal. Last time I checked only females laid eggs.
(CBC Newsworld report, July 5th: Mosquitoes causing discomfort all across Canada. Record number of mosquitoes reported in all provinces. From Charlottetown, PEI, pharmacists are concocting mosquito repellent for kids (DEET can't be beat, but isn't advised for little children and babies). So far they have found some success with a mixture of Vitamin B1 and vanilla. It apparently smells yeasty but has some efficacy against mosquitoes. Other mixtures showing some repellent activity are those with Soya oil or prickly pear cactus juice.)
by Palma Berger
Each day passes and with it it takes your mood of that moment. Have you ever thought of capturing that day's mood? In words or in paint or in some form? Janet Moore has, in her show at the Odd Gallery, attempted this. She has done small paintings over a period of ten weeks, hence the title of her show. Some are done in pure acrylic; some have paper pasted onto the surface and then painted or worked over. Some were old paintings that no longer recalled a mood or feeling and were cut up and used anew to create a piece.
As her life was particularly chaotic during this period, Moore has kept her pieces small. They are all a uniform 8in X 10in in size. As they are arranged at the same height on the walls of the Odd Gallery, one's first impression is that they are all so even and neat. It takes closer inspection to see the feelings, movements and emotions that are strongly expressed there.
In her artist's statement, Moore says, "Originally I thought Ten Weeks would be a visual chronicle, a diary of sorts. Ten weeks of passing time - each board a thought or incident, and expression of feeling or fantasy... whatever seemed important to me at the moment when paint encountered surface and through my intention an image would take form. I thought I would be able to work in a linear fashion where one piece would neatly follow the next ... each day tidy and complete. But then I encountered an odd time lag within my personal experience of the day to day of my life. Sometimes I worked on several surfaces at once, starting many and finishing none. Then days later I would return to a board and finding a colour or shape appealing would build on that surface, adding a new image to the already worked on moment - layering another bit of information into the story. A life drama from months ago would suddenly dominate my thinking, triggered by a word or a dream and that would then become the focus of my studio session. It turned out that the passage of time, measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks had more to do with the outside world of appointments and commitments than with my chaotic internal orbit of jumbled lifetime experiences and memories........."
The paintings are not hung in order of creation but rather in what looks appealing next to what. Moore had been on the Yukon River in a canoe participating in the Yukon River Quest, so many of the paintings show images of canoes, people paddling, the river, all in many forms. None of the works are landscape paintings, but rather an attempt to catch feelings.
One lively piece was her reaction to having landed in Dawson after the canoe race, and relaxing at the Rio Grill on Front Street as the waiter put on some jazz that fitted the mood of the moment. Days later that impression emerged out of her subconscious in to a painting.
There are many paintings with many forms of circles, and many spirals. Spirals had showed in her slide show of her work also, as in poplar trees or mountains.
There were paintings of her own face expressing happiness, uncertainty, contentment or whatever the mood brought on. Many others were completely abstract, as in "There". This was described by one visitor as being so appealing because of its primitiveness, the layered paper, stone like colours and the etched lines gave it that feeling of primitiveness.
There were so many paintings that viewers commented they could see hanging on their walls at home which shows that Moore certainly got her feelings across to the viewers.
"Ten Weeks" was a unique idea, and the results will be showing at the Odd Gallery until August 13th.
by Jillian Bambach
"In! In! In!" roared sternman Roch. Five foot waves crashed against the bow of the birch bark canoe. The voyageurs, a crew of twelve men and women and one dog were steering three thousand pounds of realised dreams through the rocky waters of the Pelly and into the pages of Dawson's History.
The boat and its crew looked like an image torn from a pirates novel. Smelling of sweat and adventure they had powered through the current of the Pelly to recreate the journey of fur trader Robert Campbell.
Almost a century has past since explorer Campbell lead his men down the Pelly river and on the first of July the new generation of adventurers anchored into the banks of the Yukon to celebrate their success in paddling the Pelly.
"Right from the start, water, waves, shoots, it was a rocker, lots of hollering, left, right. Nobody knows their left from their right so there was a few moments of chaos. Now I call left and they look at me to make sure, just like my dogs," said Roch as he rumbled with laughter.
It was the day after their momentous journey down the treacherous waters of the Pelly. Halin, the creator of the canoe, Benj Gallander, tyrants Dallas and Reid and I(the photographer) met the crew at their halfway point, Pelly Crossing.
Looking rough and full of spirit the crew hauled the canoe ashore to tell their tale and restock on the essentials - moose meat, lard and rum.
"There were a few sketchy moments out there smiled voyageur Claus.
The crew had paddled over 250 miles and climbed over Hooles Canyon carrying the canoe on a track similar to that of a goats.
"With rocks sliding beneath our feet we carried the canoe up one hundred and fifty foot vertical up and up and up. Then a long a trail coming down the side of the hill. It was very tricky, there was only room for one person to walk at one time so we had to wiggle our way down the hill".
That night the crew camped on the shores of the wild Pelly.
" It was unreal. We knew that Campbell had to have camped there with his men, there was no where else to go," remarked Andrew.
Such moments of triumph and teamwork filled the journey. Always in the background I could hear laughter from the support crew Kat and Marilyn who had acquired the nickname "giggle girls".
They had followed the birch canoe in their small white canoe with the purpose of getting help if necessary .
"They bring a lot of smile and laughter" Roch said with a grin as I questioned him on the addition of women to a trip which was originally intended to be only for men.
"What pulls the shit together- it's the women. It's not a matter of who gets the mess kit together or who does the cooking, the men do as much as the women. It is a matter of spirit. They always find a way to resolve a disagreement, they are strong headed women, a good addition to the trip."
A rose banded tattoo swirls around the arm of Natasha, a member of the crew. She had been there since the first tree was chopped and Halin's dream started on the banks of the Liard.
" Originally there wasn't going to be any women on board, but it was such a gorgeous project, using hand tools and traditional techniques that I swallowed my pride and worked solid on the boat for two months, all the time thinking I wouldn't get a chance to paddle. Then one day I argued with Halin that if there was a twenty six year old male who had done what I've done they would ask him to paddle. I was really interested and he appreciated that," said Natasha as she sewed together a birch bark hat with spruce roots.
Natasha, Kat, Marilyn, Agatha and Michelle. All women whom have lived in the bush for years and grown in wisdom and true beauty. Their skins tanned, nails dirty and their soulful eyes gleam with the essence of true bush women.
"We can not do everything as fast as a man because they are stronger but if you give us one hour longer we will do exactly the same," said Agatha whilst making her tent poles from tree branches stripped from the river banks.
For the next five days I witnessed the raw beauty of friendship and teamwork. Through the days we would paddle, float, eat lard layered bannock and joke around. At night we would camp on the shores of the mighty Yukon, fix any wear and tear on the canoe with pitch collected from the birch trees and gaze at the glorious sunset as we sat around the fire, told stories and sang songs from Roch and Halin's Quebecois childhood's.
I listened to the ancient sounding voices, sung from the throats of real men and women, spirited and rugged. It brought tears to my eyes.
"The crew that we have here, that is a reflection of why we stay in the Yukon. Everybody's walk-in barefoot, being in the elements all day. Mosquitoes, cold water, rations, it's just the way it is and we love it," said Roch as he smoothed his rough grey beard with hands that look as though they could snap a branch like a toothpick.
"We're a rough crew in an old boat. That's what this trip is all about. A bunch of old friends getting together for a good time," said Roch.
"It's not us that's rough, it's the rest of the world that's too fancy," laughed Halin.
by Palma Berger
The Yukon Consolidated Gold Company operated on Dawson's creeks up to the mid-sixties. Many Dawson newcomers had their first Dawson jobs with "The Gold Company". So it was with Peter ("Dutchie") Vanderklock, his brother Tim and Fred Berger. Tim was the first brother to arrive here, in 1955, then Peter came up a couple of years later. Fred Berger was here already, having worked for and quit with Y.C.G.C.
Peter worked at Granville Camp #6 and then on Dredge #4 for the next summer. Working for the company was not the most pleasant job they found, and all three quit after a short time. Tim recalls getting $1.40 an hour, and Peter recalls $1.20.
Peter and his wife Germaine had motor-homed up here a couple of years ago. Tim and wife Jeannette returned for the first time this year.
Fred and Peter both ended up working together at Franklin Osborne's garage. They recalled so many people, even the two enterprising ferry workers who, when short of cash, decided to charge ferry users 50c a trip.
This initiative was cut short when a passenger-to-be asked a passerby if he could give him change for the ferry. The passerby turned out to be a senior government employee, who dealt very sternly with this type of initiative.
Everything was great and seemingly easy when these people were young. Peter needed a driver's licence to be able to drive trucks here, so he went to the Territorial Agent, told him he was twenty-one and asked for a driver's licence. It was issued to this 18 year old.
The time he trembled most was when he went into the bar figuring he could have a drink and no one would bother this youth way up north. But a 'twenty foot mountie' filled the doorway, then entered, sat down next to him, ordered a drink, and together they drank in silence. When the mountie finished he looked directly at Peter and said, "Now don't get into any trouble up here, son".
That winter they shared with George...... a house of Bombay Peggy's which was very cold, but a trip to the Penguin Cafe for breakfast, and some good teasing from Nancy Titus and Doris Roberts cheered them up.
When Peter left Dawson he went to Whitehorse and worked at White Pass until 1962 when he left for Ontario.
Tim had worked at Camp #9 under Ivan Anderson. He worked the monitor and made the sluice boxes ready for the next Spring. Cold jobs at the beginning and end of each season. He left for Whitehorse in 1959, and ended up managing the Taylor and Drury store in Carmacks. By coincidence, this trip, he ran into his predecessor at that store while in Carmacks. He also left the Yukon in 1962 and farmed in British Columbia until his retirement.
But both were very happy to bring their wives to see Dawson, and stir up old memories. But Germaine said Peter can come on his own if he wants to winter here. Jeannette and Tim both think
B.C. is just fine for the winter.
by Laura Dowdell
"The Dark Side of Night" was a volunteer project that involved painting a mural for the school library. Our organizer and co-ordinator was Nicole Bauberger. Nicole came all the way from Ontario, where she also paints professionally, to work on this project! Our participants included Monica Nordling, Carrie Power, Mindy Margeson, Robyn Touchie, Stephanie Matchett, Jen Chang and myself. Mado deRepentigny and Candice Johnson also joined us for the first day. Working with this amount of people was a challenge!
We all came in with ideas in our heads and pictures to illustrate them. Our first job was to arrange these so they fit together. Karen Dubois and Nicole had already designed a shape that consisted of 16 separate squares arranged in a diamond. We made a miniature model of these using pictures we photocopied from the originals. This would be a model for Saturday's painting.
The first coat of paint was entirely green and white. A grid of 1" squares was placed on each of the model squares and a similar 3" grid on the actual squares. We then used the grid as guidance in the painting. The effect in green and white was so striking we wanted to keep it that way... Nicole had other ideas!
Sunday morning began with painting a red glaze over the entire piece. The complementary colors neutralized one another creating a 3-D effect. Finally we could add the colour. This was when some argument occurred. Everyone had a different idea of how colour should be applied. We worked it all out in the end, though, and it was a wonderful feeling to paint on the final glaze and see our finished product!
Personally I think we all learned from this. Not only about painting methods and techniques but ultimately about group work. One has to be able to recognize and accept better ideas than their own, and also learn to speak up when a mistake is being made. I found it interesting that as a team, our images themselves were made by different styles which together added a whole new dimension to teamwork!
The mural was originally meant to convey light. The images we came up with, however, were all rather shadowy (storms, silhouettes, sunsets, starry nights, etc.) Such images resulted in the mural looking rather dark and moody. Hence the title "Dark Side of Light." We all agreed that light really can't exist without dark anyway.
To conclude I, and everyone else who participated, would like to thank Nicole very much for her help. We would also like to thank our sponsors, the KIAC (Klondike Institute of Art and Culture), The Dawson Recreation Board and the Dawson Library Board, for making this project possible. It was great fun and if you would like to see it, it's in the Dawson Community Library.
by Jen Chang
Be on the look out Dawsonites, the Dawson Women's Shelter is organizing the Community Quilt Project, a series of free workshops which aims to bring together community members and to strengthen and celebrate our sense of community in Dawson. According to organizers Casey Woodfine (Events Co-ordinator) and Jen Chang (Resource Worker), the project's theme is: The Meaning of "Community." The quilt will consist of 16 squares made by 16 participants, with each square reflecting a different perception of community.
Renee Mayes, a well known local quilter, has volunteered to facilitate three basic quilting workshops scheduled for July 26, 30 and 31 from 7-9 p.m.. Woodfine notes that workshops will be geared towards participants with little or no quilting experience but experienced quilters are also welcome to attend the classes. With generous funding from the City of Dawson Recreation Department, all participants will be provided with the basic materials needed to make a block. Woodfine and Chang hope the quilt will be completed in early August, in time to be displayed at the first annual "Yukon Arts Festival" (August 17-20), hosted by the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC). Following the festival, the quilt will be donated to the City of Dawson.
Sign up for the Community Quilt Project is already underway and more than half of the 16 spots have been filled. All quilters and quilters-to-be, call the Shelter ASAP at 993-5086 for more info or to register. In the meantime, Happy Quilting!
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