|Chief Steve Taylor and Government Leader Piers McDonald shake hands over the newly signed self-government and land claims agreements. Photo by Anne Saunders|
Welcome to the July 24 edition of the Klondike Sun. Here we present a sampling of the 21 articles and 10 photographs that made up the busy hard copy of our paper. With this issue we bid farewell to summer student report Jocelyn Bell. Twelve weeks were too short!
by Jocelyn Bell
The Tr'ondek Hwech'in signed their Final and Self-Government agreements on July 16 in Dawson City -- agreements touted by Government Leader Piers McDonald as "the best of the best."
"The self-government features are probably the best anywhere and the land quantum is very good by Canadian Standards," McDonald said at the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Hall.
The Yukon's Umbrella Final Agreement is considered the 'high water mark' in Canada and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in's agreement has built on the six Yukon First Nation negotiations that have come before it.
"It's consequently a superb agreement," McDonald added.
In addition to self-government, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in have claimed authority over 2,598 square kilometres of land and will receive $29.3 million (1998 dollars) from the Federal Government, spread out over the next 15 years.
Tr'ondek Hwech'in Chief Steve Taylor said he tossed and turned all through the night before the signing and mainly just felt tired.
"This represents a beginning for our people," Taylor said. "This agreement will enable us to be even better than what I think we've accomplished."
Taylor said the agreement received "landslide support" from voting members of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, who mainly just wanted to "get on with it."
"People hung in there and I think we got a really good agreement... We didn't require the use of consultants or lawyers to any great degree.. By and large we did it all ourselves," Taylor added.
The main reason this agreement stands out over other First Nations' agreements in the Yukon is that while others have been asked not to exercise their legislative powers within certain areas of their land (usually within municipal boundaries), the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, with the support of the City of Dawson, are not subject to this limitation.
Dermot Flynn, the Yukon government's principal negotiator, said there was some friction negotiating the size of what is to be the territory's first natural park at Tombstone. The Tr'ondek Hwech'in wanted it to cover 1,000 square km, but the Yukon government thought it should only be 388 square km. The compromise leaves the park at 388 square km, but two other portions of land adjacent to the park will be reconsidered by the territorial government and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in over the next 18 months.
Flynn said there were differing opinions on how to protect the Forty Mile caribou herd. The Tr'ondek Hwech'in wanted a special management area to protect the herd. While no resolution has been reached, the First Nation has agreed to work with the Yukon government to find a way to protect the herd using existing legislation.
Other agreement highlights include establishing a Tr'o-ju-wech'in Heritage Site at Klondike City, across the Klondike River from Dawson City. The site is historic for both the Tr'ondek Hwech'in and the Gold Rush and will be planned by a steering committee made up of Tr'ondek Hwech'in and representatives of federal and territorial government.
The agreement also makes provisions for the protection of the Moosehide Village and Twelvemile (Chandindu) River. Tr'ondek Hwech'in laws will apply to the bed of the Twelvemile when it is not covered by water, and the government's rules apply when the river bed is covered in water.
While the signing of the agreement was a muted affair, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in are saving the real celebration of their moment in history for the end of the month, when around 500 people will attend the bi-annual Tr'ondek Hwech'in Moosehide Gathering.
by Jocelyn Bell
Last month, a Maclean's Magazine survey asked readers who they thought was the most important Canadian. They didn't chose Pierre Trudeau, Wayne Gretzky or Margaret Atwood. They chose Bruce Cockburn. (The Maclean's panel of experts ignored this advice and chose Georges Vanier.)
And that most popular of Canadians was in Dawson City last Thursday performing under the Music Festival's mainstage tent. Certainly one of the most famous performers at the festival, Cockburn is by far the most decorated. Ten Junos, 18 gold and platinum records and a career spanning over 30 years and 24 albums make up this man's personal trophy case.
Cockburn is most often associated with politically charged lyrics, and sang last Thursday about political justice struggles in Mozambique and Tokyo. But Cockburn is equally poetic. In "Night Train" the starlight shines "like glass shards in dark hair." And his delivery of "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" captured the hearts of year-round Yukoners who can relate to the lyric "wanna kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."
Particularly timely were "Stolen Land" and "Dream Like Mine," sung on the same day that the Tr'ondek Hwech'in signed their land claims and self-government agreements. "Stolen Land" is about the First Nation at Ungava Bay and posits the question "What step are you gonna take to set things right in this stolen land?"
"Dream Like Mine" was dedicated to Tr'ondek Hwech'in Chief Steve Taylor and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation at a radio show broadcast from Dawson last week. The song is about the cultural revival that many First Nations, including the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, are currently experiencing.
Cockburn sang "Dream Like Mine" as an encore along with the well-known "Call it Democracy." But that wasn't enough for the Dawson audience, who were on their feet demanding a second encore.
Cockburn returned with the lilting waltz "One Day I Walk," from his 1971 album "High Winds White Sky," finally sating the audience's desire for more.
by Dan Davidson
They're lined up six deep outside Saint Paul's Anglican Church as the ticket holders arrive, asking if people have any extra tickets they don't need. It's the second concert night of the 20th Dawson City Music Festival, and everything is going very well.
Wednesday night's concert is in a venue with a distinct atmosphere. Saint Paul's' was renovated two years ago, so those who recall peeping lathes, cracked plaster and bile pink walls will be pleasantly surprised by the changes. It is full to capacity on this night, and the fire chief would probably have been alarmed by the number of chairs that were packed in on the ends of the pews just to make a bit more sitting room.
The opening act is Roadhouse, a hastily named quartet assembled by Harmonica George McConkey, with him playing guitar and mouth harp and featuring Barnacle Bob on piano, Don Armitage on drums and Joe Loutchan on fiddle. They fill the church with a blend of old time fiddle tunes, harmonica pyrotechnics, folk songs and east coast standards.
One of McConkey's tunes is a song about the Dempster Highway, which he retitles the Joe Henry Highway in honour of Joe's recent 100th birthday. Bob brings a lot of energy to his piano and his singing, both trained by years of performing in bars here and elsewhere. Joe is simply one of the best old-time fiddlers in the Yukon, and he swaps solos with McConkey on harmonica without dropping a note. Don sits in the background, slapping away at his traps and grinning happily.
There's a brief intermission and then we meet the main event. It's been five years since Bill Bourne and Alan MacLeod went their separate ways after two successful (and one Juno award winning) albums. They've played here numerous times, at the Festival and even at Gerties, but this is a reunion, and it is a reunion that a lot of people want to see. As a result there seem to be even more people in he church for the second half than were there for the first. It must be an illusion.
Bourne and MacLeod are no mirage, however. Both take the stage in dark glasses, but there the similarity ends.
Bourne sports his trademark hat and sportscoat, along with blue jeans that are out at the knees. He begins with a plucked fiddle, but most of his time is spent on guitar and mouth harp.
MacLeod, decked out in plaid slacks, sleeveless dress white shirt and tie, and prominent tattoos, looks like a head on collision between a Scottish piper and a biker. He is a piper, so the image is apt, but he also plays the mandolin and an assortment of penny whistles.
The collaboration seems a little rusty at the start. They appear to be a tad nervous, waiting for cues. But that doesn't last long. Before the set is half done they are on familiar ground, grinning at each other as they trade off for instrumental solos in the midst of the singing.
They are a great success and are coaxed, clapped and stomped back for an encore.
When the concert began, the skies in Dawson were filled with smoke, blown in perhaps from the new fire at Ethel Lake. You could hardly see the bends in the river. Oddly, a lot of it's gone when the concert has ended. It would be nice to think the energy of the evening blew it away, but that's probably not the case.
by Jocelyn Bell
Debbie Nagano, Tr'ondek Hwech'in cultural programs coordinator, says she expects 400 to 500 people to attend this year's Moosehide Gathering, held at the Moosehide Village, July 30 to August 2.
The gathering, which has been held every other year for the last eight years, is a time for the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation to celebrate their traditions and culture.
"For us to have a future we have to remember our past -- remember who we are," said Nagano adding that the Moosehide Gathering helps build a strong foundation.
Natives and non-natives are invited to attend the gathering, which will include story-telling, dancing, drumming, songs, history, food, traditional games, and a celebration of the signing of the land claims agreement. Nagano organized the last two Moosehide gatherings, and has had her share of frustrations getting the event together. Most of the job is trying to find funding. "We're constantly going to doors that are always closed," she said. Funding groups tend to prefer events that are a one-time occurrence, rather than every other year, Nagano added.
She also has the task of explaining to funding organizations why it's important for First Nations people to celebrate traditions. "It's hard to put into words. You have to take part," she says.
Despite the obstacles, Moosehide Gathering organizers have raised $69,000 of their $70,000 budget from the Community Development Fund, the Department of Indian Affairs, the Council of Yukon First Nations, and Aboriginal Language Services.
Nagano says that what keeps her going through it all is the youth. "You can't fail when a youth is looking at you and saying, 'I want to learn my language. I want more traditional events. I want to be proud of who I am.'"
In an open invitation to the gathering, Tr'ondek Hwech'in Chief Steve Taylor writes that the event is meant to do just that. "We see this Gathering as a way to provide cultural awareness through healthy activities, and a renewal and strengthening of pride in ourselves, our families, our community, and our Nation."
The Moosehide Village became the home of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in after gold was discovered in 1896. Up until that time, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in lived at the mouth of the Klondike River, today known as Klondike City. With the huge influx of gold seekers, the people were forced to relocate to Moosehide Village.
Asked if this year's Moosehide Gathering would be any different than in the past because of the centennial of the Gold Rush, Nagano responded, "Nah. We never work ourselves into the Gold Rush."
From as far away as California, Colorado, Washington State, Alberta, British Columbia. Alaska, and the Yukon, Scouts will gather in Whitehorse for the second time in the Yukon's History. Never before has such a large gathering of youth registered to attend an organized event in the Yukon. In addition to the 1100 plus registrants, a lot of the participants have their parents and siblings along for the adventure.
Officially their adventure will begin on August 2nd when they gather to rgister at the Yukon Rodeo Association grounds on the Klondike Highway The grounds will be sectioned off to form a small village with street names like Upper Bonanza and Hunker Creek. This site will be their home until Wednesday August 5th, when they must dismantle their campsite and relocate it to Dawson City. How will they ever get there? Good question. I would bet that a lot of people asked that same question 100 years ago.
Some of the activities that the youth will participate in included Fly Tying, , knot Making Hiking Pioneering Gold Panning and of course more Gold Panning All recipients will receive their own gold pan thanks to the wonderful support of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission.
by Anne Saunders
Dawson often gets travellers from California passing through town, however, most wouldn't consider using vehicles almost 70 years old!
Rex Bozell, Roy Baum and Dennis Rathmann, all from California, have been travelling by Ford Model A's since June 24, making a loop that started at the Mexican border, taking the three men through western USA, BC, Yukon, Alaska (there picking up Rex's wife in Anchorage) and down from Juneau by ferry t o Port Hardy, through the western USA and back to the Mexican border again. They had stopped in Dawson for a few days before heading up to Inuvik.
Bozell was inspired for this trek from an article written by a gentleman who had driven a Ford Model A from Los Angeles to Inuvik where the car literally fell apart and had to be shipped back to California by flatbed truck. This fact hasn't dampened Rex's enthusiasm for the trip, which has been two years in the planning. It has become a challenge for the Palomar Model A's Club member. Rex decided to invite other club members to come along and had Roy with a Model A pickup truck and Dennis who wanted to navigate, respond to his offer.
Rex drives a Coupe, affectionately called "Miss Daisy", that was manufactured in 1931 and was received as a birthday present in 1992. Since then he has managed to put approximately 45,000 miles on her. He hasn't had to do much exterior restoration since the body was in excellent shape but has done some mechanical work. I asked him if he was concerned about this trip perhaps adding to the depreciation of his vehicle.
He replied, "There are two types of vehicle owners-the ones who take their antique cars to shows, hauling them by trailer and the other kind, who enjoy driving them." With a smile, he said, "I'm the latter!"
Rex had taken the precaution to add large, protective screens in front of the radiator, windshield and headlights. Plexiglas neatly covered the beautiful cut-glass in the side windows.
I commented that the men must have a lot of faith, not only in their vehicles, but in their own abilities to be able to fix them. Their reply was that they were 'tinkerers' who brought many small parts along on the trip with them and if something bigger was needed, it is no problem to have parts air freighted. Many Model A parts are still available and as an added bonus, the A's are so uncomplicated, mechanics don't usually have too many problems fixing them.
Both vehicles have 4 cylinders, 40 hp engines and are immaculate inside and out. Also signal lights have been installed since hand signals were the thing to do back when these cars were new! Their top speed is 55 mph, which is higher than the original, because of an overdrive modification performed. The gas mileage is 17 mpg, which is normal for an "A".
Roy explained that years ago, Ford Model A owners were lucky to get 40,000 miles on their vehicles engines due to poor quality of oil and the fact that air and oil filters were just not part of the standard equipment at that time . Mercifully, the Ford Motor Company had a deal that if an owner brought in his spent engine and $25, he would receive a new motor.
Roy took me out around town in his truck, also made in 1931, impressing me with the smoothness of the ride, making me wonder about the condition of the suspension on my own, much younger vehicle. Naturally, there was no air-conditioning, but he opened the front windshield, which allowed fresh, cool air into the cab. When we stopped, he unhinged the engine cover revealing a basic engine with only a few wires going to it and pointed out some of the modifications he had made, such as adding a heater, oil filter, air filter, a fuel regulator and an electric fan not standard in the original vehicles. Apparently, the fans in the Model A's had a tendency to fly apart and damage the radiator when they got to be about 20 years old.
Their trip, which will total 11,000 miles, has had so far no major breakdowns and will last 9 weeks. They find themselves ahead of their schedule by one day.
So far, Roy hasn't named his truck, but maybe by the time he gets home, he'll think of one.
by Dan Davidson
The weather was almost too nice for the official opening of the Klondike History Library on June 11, but once the benches had been moved into the shade on the Museum lawn to as to avoid heat prostration, things were able to get under way. It was a little late, but that's a Klondike tradition. After all, most of the stampeders got here too late.
The Klondike History Library isn't a brand new idea. The Dawson City Museum has had an archives and historical library on the second floor of the Old Territorial Administration Building for some years now. Director Mack Swackhammer would go so far as to trace the concept back to the formation of the current museum in 1959.
The collection now has a name and, thanks to 35 years of collecting by Ed and Star Jones, it has a solid foundation.
The Joneses, who were once teachers here, have been in the Klondike just about every summer since 1963, and were turned on to the love of the place and its history by their good friend Alan Innes-Taylor, in whose memory the newly christened library is now dedicated.
Some 50 people turned out for the dedication ceremony on Saturday afternoon, including friends of the Jones family who came from as far away as their native New Mexico.
Museum Director Swackhammer told the crowd that this donation and the rededication of the library was a significant addition to the 25,000 or so artifacts already under the museum's care. Most of the physical collection is three dimensional, ranging from the remaining engines of the Klondike Mines Railway right down to little keys.
"We have here a major heritage resource which helps the community understand its past and where it came from. That helps us plan and work towards the future."
These remarks were a fair summary of what a number of other people had to say about the general importance of museums and libraries. Indeed Dee Longenbaugh, an historian from Juneau, Alaska, went so far as to quote another scholar who once said that "people without a sense of history are like amnesiacs."
Swackhammer said that the museum has about 25,000 visitors annually, while another 5 to 6,000 use its website and research assistance. About 5,000 requests for information, often in regard to genealogical records, are fielded by staff in the course of a year.
Busy at it is, valuable as it is, the museum has a relatively tiny budget, and must rely primarily on the generosity of donors, which makes the Jones' donation most welcome.
Summer archivist John Richthammer spoke briefly about the archival standards which apply to library collections. His job has been made immensely easier by the meticulous manner in which the couple have documented their collection.
"They had a great system in place and it was very easy to handle the material."
The Jones' collection contains a wide variety of print materials. There are over 150 books, many of them quite rare and including work by explorer Frederick Schwatka, geographer George M. Dawson, reporter Tappan Adney, surveyor William Ogilvie and trader Joseph Ladue, the merchant who founded and surveyed Dawson. There are hundreds of postcards, rare newspapers, a cheque signed by Robert W. Service, over 200 photographs and over 300 slides, stereopticon cards, brochures, menus and correspondence.
There are some who feel that the material from 1963 to the present, including letters and photographs, may be the most valuable.
The Joneses hope that their dedication to a Klondike based home for local memorabilia will encourage others to do the same. Members of the local historical community look forward to the day when it will be impossible to assemble a credible book on the Klondike without first visiting the Museum and Library here.
While there were no members of the Innes-Taylor family present, they sent their greetings and indicated that they were sure their father would be pleased to be associated with this library.
The dedication of the library to Alan Innes-Taylor began as a homage to the man who had befriended Star and Ed Jones here 35 years ago. Innes-Taylor was their mentor in Klondike history, but was also celebrated in his day as an explorer, writer, historian, airman, member of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, dog-team freighter, respected scholar and recognized expert in Arctic survival.
During his life, as recounted by John Richthammer, he was deeply involved in the preservation of Yukon history while also taking part in many local organizations and societies. He seemed to have one foot in the past and the other in the present.
A modest man, he did not let most people know about his two Congressional Medals for his work on the Byrd expedition to Antarctica his Carnegie life saving medal or his international reputation in geographical societies. He lived modestly in Dawson and it was not until he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada that his accomplishments were celebrated more openly. He died in 1983, just a month shy of his 83rd birthday.
Ed Jones says he himself was unaware of many of the highlights of Innes-Taylor's life until a few weeks ago, but had merely known him as an upstanding individual who had fostered his own love of the Klondike and seemed inclined to let his actions speak louder than his words.
"He was a man at peace with himself and the world around him."
Other speakers included people who had known Innes-Taylor and representatives of various community organizations. These included local historians John Gould and Michael Gates; Yukon Order Of Pioneers member, Jack Fraser; Pioneer Women of the Yukon member, Barb Hanulik; Deputy Chief of the Tr'ondek Hwech'in, Arthur Christiansen; and Dee Longenbaugh.
After the unveiling of the name plaque and the picture of Innes- Taylor, the new library was the immediate recipient of four more donations. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Kavet of Albuquerque, New Mexico donated a binder detailing their family genealogy and Klondike connections. John Gould passed over a rare auction catalogue, an unpublished Yukon manuscript and a collection of letters. The Butterworth family donated a folder full of old papers which once belonged to the Molloy family. From the Tr'ondek Hwech'in came a copy of their Land Claims agreement. Local artist Albert Fuhre donated a set of his prints of historical Dawson buildings. Bill Bowie, representing the Yukon Anniversaries Commission, announced that a genealogical project being researched by the YAC would be donated to the library once it was completed.
After the ceremony, the guests adjourned to the museum's rear deck for cake and coffee and later to the library to view some of the artifacts from the Jones' donation.
"I think," said Jones the next day, "that this event was historic in itself, and will be remembered that way 50 years from now."
by Dan Davidson
Barely 24 hours after his return from the Yukon Utility Board hearings in Whitehorse, Dawson peripatetic mayor, Glen Everitt, was off again, this time on a more pleasant errand. With the cooperation and assistance of the city of Edmonton, Everitt left bright and early Sunday morning to help bring a touch of the real Klondike to Edmonton's annual Klondike Days summer festival.
Everitt styles it the Overland Trail is reverse. "Unlike the stampeders, I will be travelling in some comfort and will be stopping along the way to promote Dawson City and the Yukon's Centennial celebrations."
In fact, he plans to sneak into each and every tourist information bureau between Dawson and Edmonton and find out what's being said about the Yukon before presenting them with all sorts of Klondike promotional material.
He'd love to discover the origin of that rumour last month that there were no accommodations left in Dawson, but he suspects he won't be able to do that.
Once in Edmonton Everitt, decked out in his familiar (and Klondike National Historic Sites donated) centennial tuxedo should become a familiar figure. Mayor Bill Smith will have him riding in a specially commissioned Klondike vehicle near the front of the parade. He hopes to be throwing Klondike ice cream bars into the crowd.
He will be making a number of keynote speeches and hosting a fund raising event for the local children's hospital. In addition, he will be joining Smith in doing the seniors' picnic, and heading off the Chuckwagon Races.
At the Mayor's Luncheon for officials of all the government departments in Alberta Everitt will be speaking on the theme "Partnerships Between Communities".
There is a proposed agreement to be signed between Everitt and Smith regarding joint marketing and cooperation. He has been told that Edmonton has already printed over 800,000 brochures to get this started and plans to direct traffic to the Klondike.
Smith is very happy to have Everitt in his city and the mayor's office is picking up the tab for his stay in the Alberta capital. All of this cooperation grew out of an exchange of media volleys that occurred between the two mayors last summer. The upshot of the original salvos was that they decided it would make more sense to get along and help promote each others cities. An Edmonton city official was actually seconded to make the arrangements for Everitt's trip when it appeared that things were getting muddled.
The discussion also included the Klondyke Centennials Society and Northlands Park, the owners of the Klondike Days event. He will also be meeting the tourism minister for Egypt and another from another as yet unnamed African country.
While television advertising this year would lead one to believe that Klondike Days has somehow metamorphosed into Egyptian Days, the Gold Rush is still very much a part of Edmonton's summer promotion, something which has been a sore point for many Yukoners ever since it began, back in 1966.
Everitt will be meeting with officials from Tourism Alberta, Tourism Edmonton and the Northland Park (owners of the festival's trademark) to discuss toning it down or at least making sure that some of the advertising actually does something for the Yukon. He has hopes that this may be the outcome.
The trip will not be without its lighter moments.
"Years ago," Everitt says, "Edmonton staked a claim to the name 'Klondike Days' and now it is payback time."
Among the many items in his 4x4 Everitt is carrying a claim stake: "I'll be staking the municipal office, I have a six foot gold painted miner's stake to put in the ground, making it a placer claim on behalf of the citizens of the Klondike."
This should probably get him a bit more press than the traditional presentation of the key to the city.
Edmonton will be coming to our holiday later on, when the deputy mayor arrives for Discovery Days. Smith would have come but the national capital cities conference is happening at the same time.
Everitt says the interest in his trip has been quite intense. He says that his telephone barely stopped ringing on July 11, with calls from newspapers in Edmonton and Vancouver as well as various magazines.
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