Dawson City, Yukon Friday, July 6, 2001

The Annual General Assembly of the Council for Yukon First Nations met in Dawson recently. Photo by Heather Robb

Feature Stories

Cooperation among Yukon First Nations Crucial for Self Government - CYFN
Earth Tremor
River Quest Raises Froth of Controversy
Our Friends' Gallery
Dawson City Arts Society Invites Outsiders In
Benj Gallander: From Investment Strategies to Plot Outlines
Jimmy Simpson Speaks (A Lot)
Attachés Get Some Northern Exposure

Welcome to the July 6, 2001 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 50 photographs and 28 articles which were in the 32-page July 4 hard copy edition. For Canada Day alone, we had a 20-photo spread, none of which will be on this page, because we didn't actually write a story to go with them and that many photos would be too hard on our ISP. 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.

Cooperation among Yukon First Nations Crucial for Self Government - CYFN

by Heather Robb

Last week the Tr'ondek Hwech'in hosted the Council for Yukon First Nations' 21st General Assembly at Strachans Farm, outside of Dawson. The agenda was packed.

The Council, which was originally called the Council for Yukon Indians, was formed in 1973 specifically to negotiate land claims. By 1980, the Yukon Native Brotherhood, the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians had converged into the CYI to form one unified, and strong organization. With the establishment of a new constitution in 1995, the Council changed its name to the Council of Yukon First Nations.

At the Assembly, Grand Chief Ed Schultz called for the delegates' strong support of the Vuntut Gwich'in First Nation in their fight to protect the habitat of the Porcupine Caribou herd (currently threatened by the U.S. government's plans for development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), as the caribou are central to the way of life and health of the Gwich'in people.

Also addressed was the urgent need for education curriculum to be developed more directly by the First Nations for its citizens in order that it better reflect the traditions and values of First Nations people-- to curb high drop out rates.

The Yukon Government's current review of the Wildlife Act was discussed, and the Assembly resolved to send a message to the government that any changes to the Act require consultation with the First Nations, to ensure consistency with Final and Self-Government Agreements.

One resolution, submitted by Elder Oliver Jim, addressed the need for incorporation of traditional knowledge into the policies and practices of the Yukon government. Traditional knowledge, which defies any simple definition, refers to the privileged knowledge of Yukon First Nation communities; it is a decision making tool with strong spiritual components that is guided by "respect, protection and connection," according to CYFN's publication titled "Traditional Knowledge Research Guidelines."

Delegates were present from each of the 11 Yukon First Nations participating in the CYFN, including the Vuntut Gwich'in First Nation, the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, the Teslin Tlingit Council, the First Nation of Na Cho Nyak Dun, the Selkirk First Nation, the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation, the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation, White River First Nation, Kluane First Nation and Carcross-Tagish First Nation.

The remaining three Yukon First Nations-- the Liard First Nation, Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Carcross-Tagish First Nation-- currently work independently of the CYFN.

The Assembly followed closely at the heels of a summit held in Teslin earlier in the month by the seven self governing First Nations (the Vuntut Gwich'in First Nation, the Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, the Teslin Tlingit Council, the First Nation of Na Cho Nyak Dun, the Selkirk First Nation, the Little Salmon-Carmacks First Nation, and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation) to specifically address problems around self government.

Delegate Sharon Anne Peter, Deputy Chief of the Na Cho Nyak Dun First Nation, commented that the problems stem largely from the federal and Yukon governments' interpretation of Final Agreements without consultation with the First Nations.

"I've been in meetings for weeks and it always comes back to the same thing.

The agreements aren't working. It takes so long to get anywhere that it's just ridiculous. Every time we make a bylaw, the government turns around and makes a different one," she said.

Robert Hager, Chief of Na Cho Nyak Dun proposed that the Yukon First Nations use CYFN as a vehicle for helping those non self governing First Nations to reach better agreements. He suggested that cooperation and knowledge sharing would aid those First Nations who have yet to settle in reaching improved agreements. In turn, he argued, better new agreements would benefit all the Yukon First Nations.

"Are we going to take action and say there's no pipeline until the agreement is finished? We want the agreement finished before there's a pipeline. What is the government doing for creating jobs for us on the pipeline? Where is the training? We've have two public meetings about this, where does it go from there? We need to give the Grand Chief a strong mandate to go with, that's what he's there for. I know he can do it if we give him the resolution.

"We see things happening too much. Our young people are dying-- suicide, alcohol, drugs. We keep talking about it every year. Parents are getting hurt."

"Let's get out of this PSTA [Program Service Transfer Agreement] and go to something else to make things happen at a community level. Otherwise the government is going to chop us down program by program. That's why we've got to get off the DIA [Department of Indian Affairs]. And it's still there. It's killing our people. We're going to be sitting here for the next 20 years if we don't get this action. Now is the time to give a strong resolution to the Grand Chief."

"In PSTA there's a lot of research going on but it's not going over. Stop it now, let's get an action deal. We need an action pact with the two governments. That's what [Grand Chief Ed Schultz] is there for. Let's get some action. I know he can do it," said Hager.

Vice Chief Mary Jane Jim-Cant, of the Assembly of First Nations, supported Hager's comments and placed them in a national context.

"We've got people around this table whose families are casualties of this war that's been embarked on for the past thirty years. I call it a war because it's a silent war, a deadly war. It comes from Canada developing an Indian Act which sets us apart from other people in this country. Nobody else in this country had struggles set out for them the way ours were. Nowhere. It's a violent war and its a war called racism," she said.

The CYFN eventually passed it's fifth resolution to create a secretariat to facilitate the sharing of information, resources, collective problem solving, and to ensure common action and strategies in order "to meet the challenges of self government."

Although he wasn't able to attend the CYFN General Assembly, Steve Carem, the Lands and Resource Officer for the Tr'ondek Hwech'in later described how the Yukon government's failure to adequately consult First Nations is currently affecting Tr'ondek Hwech'in Traditional Territory.

Carem stated that by initiating a Call for Nominations on Tr'ondek Hwech'in Traditional Territory (opening segments of it up to private development), Premier Pat Duncan has failed to heed the Yukon Umbrella Final Agreement which stipulates that Land Use Planning must precede any Call for Nominations.

Land Use Planning involves the creation of a council (comprised of a First Nations representative and government representatives) to develop a plan and to advise the government on land use in different areas.

"So far there's been no meaningful consultation in regards to hunting, forestry, habitat. The process is all wrong. We recognize that we need Land Use Planning, but it takes a while. We want an interim process that protects our rights and interests until such a time as proper Land Use Planning comes into effect," said Carem.

He added that Jake Duncan of the Renewable Resources Council submitted a letter to the Premier on June 26th addressing this issue.

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Earth Tremor

For those who rose early on Tuesday morning because they felt sort of shook up. They were. CBC reported that last Tuesday 26th June, there was an earth tremor felt in the Yukon. It occurred 170 miles W.- Nth. West of Haines Junction. There was an earthquake 10 km. underground which registered 5.7 on the Richter scale. The first tremor was at 7:00 a.m. followed by another less strong one at 7:37 a.m.

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River Quest Raises Froth of Controversy

by Heather Robb


One of the contestants in the Yukon River Quest arrives in Dawson. Photo by Heather Robb

The Yukon River Quest-- the annual canoe and kayak race from Whitehorse to Dawson-- was tinged, though not quite stained with controversy this year.

Four of the participating 23 teams protested the initial winner-- Team U.P. (team #18) -- consisting of Steve Landick and Mark Churchill from Michigan.

The objections were directed at the winning canoe team's modified hull.

"They cut the hull and narrowed it at the top, which made for a much more efficient paddle by the stern paddler," explained Race Marshall Brian Charles who spent the weekend greeting racers at the Dawson finish line.

"Normally they'd be disqualified but their boat [in its current form] was approved by someone on the Yukon Quest committee this winter," said Charles. He refused to name the person who gave the o.k.

After hearing the complaints, which were lodged by the second, third, and fourth place finishers, as well as another team that withdrew from the race, Charles ruled to penalize Landick and Churchill, and at the same time to create a new "racing class" category into which only Landick and Churchill's team fit.

The penalty was a one hour addition to their official time, changing it from 52 hours and nine minutes to 53 hours and nine minutes. In the overall standing, this put Team U.P. one minute behind the Flying Fools, Tom Feil and Jeff Mettler from Washington, whose official time was 53 hours and eight minutes. The Flying Fools were declared the overall winners of the race, while Team U.P. was second overall.

However, Landick and Churchill won first place in the new "racing class" category-- a separate entity from the canoe class. They were its only competitors.

The first place prize money ($1400) was allotted to both the Michigan and the Washington team.

Brian Horton, whose team placed fourth overall and consisted of himself and Nathan Doering (both from Whitehorse), was among the protesters.

"I felt that they had an unfair advantage, and I want to see the race stay traditional. But I didn't want to see the modified boat disqualified, considering the skill of the paddlers involved," said Horton.

He added that he hadn't seen the boat in question until the race was already under way.

"At that time it was quite apparent that significant alterations had been made," he said.

However, Horton is satisfied with the Race Marshall's ruling.

"I think it was the best possible decision given the circumstances. I wanted them to uphold the integrity of the race, but I'm really glad that the team wasn't disqualified."

Controversy aside, Horton said he had a great race.

"It was awesome-- it was such a wicked trip. Both Nathan and I found new limits."

Horton and Doering, both members of the Yukon Ski Team, had never canoed together competitively before.

"I'd like to [canoe] race more, but unfortunately there's just not that much opportunity to do it in the Yukon," said Horton.

In 2000 Horton competed in the Yukon River Quest with Yvonne Harris (who is also from Whitehorse). While the two placed fifth overall, Harris, an author of children's books, and a competitive cross country skier and marathon runner who is currently 65 years old, was determined to have a women's team this year.

With two Dyea to Dawson Centennial Races, and two Yukon Quests under her belt, Harris is now eager to promote women's racing. She hooked up with another woman, Sue Deforest, a young gymnastics teacher from Whitehorse, despite the fact that Deforest had very little experience in a canoe.

With the factors of strong wind and an inexperienced partner, Harris admitted that she found the race this year "very tough."

"Sue paddled like mad all the way into Carmacks, but the last half [of the race] was extremely difficult. I've never solo paddled that far before," she said.

Deforest gloated over her senior partner.

"She's amazing. And she encouraged me every inch of the way," said Deforest.

Harris would like to see some changes in the future to the race's current format.

"It has great potential. But we need to get the two cities more involved. We need to give more quality support to the racers at the layover and the finishing points.

"For a small event, this is marvelous. But when we grow, we've got to make this event something we're really proud of," she said.

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Our Friends' Gallery

By Palma Berger


Wendy Burns, Jayne Fraser and Joyce Caley at the Tintina Bakery and Art Gallery. Photo by Palma Berger

"Our Friends' Gallery" is in the Tintina Bakery at Henderson Corner. Their Fourth Art Show opened on June 21st. The whole evening was in a setting to please the senses. Inside the smell of baking bread stayed with you as you wandered around viewing the art. Then taking a glass of your choice of liquid refreshment and some of the delicious snacks, you could wander outdoors to the fresh air and sunlight to chat and relax with friends. Wendy Burns described the site as "Uptown Henderson Corner". The surrounding lush green fields gave a new meaning to being" uptown".

These art shows are the work of Jayne Fraser, owner of the bakery and neighbour Wendy Burns. These two share a love of art, and in this manner share their love of art with everybody.

It may be "the smallest gallery in the Yukon" but they had 53 pieces on display. There were pieces of art freshly created, or owned by someone, and done in many different media. Adding further interest to the pieces, many artists listed in whose art class they created their piece, as in Cim MacDonald's class, Lillian Loponen's, Rosemary Piper's, John Steins', and the lucky ones who went to Mexico, and found their inspiration in San Miguel or McLaque..

There were water colours by Lynn Nimmo, Pam Gleboff, Joyce Caley, Cim MacDonald and Jayne Fraser. Acrylics by Christopher Johnson, Sharon Edmunds, Susan Carda, Palma Berger, Romy Jensen, Margaret Tai and Penny Spencer. Oils done by Halin DeRepentigny and Chuck McLeod. Pencil drawings by Mary Dolman, ink drawing by Penny Spencer, print from a wood engraving by Natalie Irwin.

The hand crafted work showed a cake decorated with icing and resembling a ballerina by Sylvia Strutton who also had several cross-stitched pieces. Shelley Hakonson's stitched piece was done with mainly metallic thread and named "Copper in the Round." Lynn Nimmo's delicately painted eggs were painted white and resembled lace complete with holes and overstitched edges. Sandra Hall's piece was a pendant of silver and ivory and titled "Mother and Child". Margaret Tai's Rooster on black velvet stood out. Penny Spencer had the only photo collage, of a garden, naturally. Leslie Piercey had created intriguing little show cases about 3-5 inches high and each with its own glass door revealing frogs, silver hands, feathers and other fascinating little items.

The photography showed varied styles. Joyce Caley's shots of the Saskatchewan farms seemed to have their own rhythm. Dick Van Nostrand's two photos were from Nova Scotia. One of a row boat tied against a pier with the length of the boat contrasting with the vertical posts of the pier, and the other an abandoned toy panda bear and each was sharp and distinct. Kevin Hastings' was of Calder Summit showing an old cabin coming out of a mist. Dominic Guillett had two photos of females one of whom was dancing and the other caught up in her own world.

The paintings and pencil work were inspired by Chinese paintings, the Yukon scene, flowers, people, buildings, and one had a real cigarette packet attached to the painting of the same packet; other work was of the "River of Gold" boat trip last year. All varied in style from subtle to colourful to rhythmic and most original.. This show goes on until July 21st., so you still have time to enjoy the art, the setting and long summer evenings at Henderson Corner.

There is food for the soul at Tintina Bakery.

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Dawson City Arts Society Invites Outsiders In

by Heather Robb


Mike Yuhasz is excited about the Artists in Residence Program. Photo by Heather Robb

Currently, a peek into the windows of the Parks Canada owned Macaulay's Residence on the corner of Seventh and Princess offers little gratification, even to the most imaginative of Peeping Toms.

Big empty rooms. No vital signs beyond the dust-bunnies.

However, with its upcoming Artist-in-Residence program, the Dawson City Arts Society hopes to fill the house with fresh blood-- with which to boil the town's creative bones.

After receiving $30,000 for the program in June from the Yukon Arts Fund, DCAS is now calling for submissions. They hope to find a candidate to begin residency as early as August.

The doors are open to both emerging and established visual artists, Canadian and international.

The term "visual artist," is, according to DCAS board member and Artist-in-Residence coordinator Mike Yuhasz, an invitingly broad category.

"It could mean media art dealing with web based material, video digital stuff, or interdisciplinary work. And we're very interested in traditional film makers too."

Yuhasz suggested that ultimately DCAS is looking for images and ideas that wake up the neighbourhood.

"[We want] work that will stimulate discussion and dialogue, create excitement and provide the community and territory with something to talk about.

"The main thrust will be to invite artists from outside the territory. But that doesn't exclude the possibility of Yukoners getting a residency.

"It's exciting for artists here to have an established artist come in. There's a real possibility for it to act as a catalyst, and to create an atmosphere where local artists are developing their work as well," said Yuhasz.

He added that artists selected for the program will be required to hold a minimum of one artist's talk over the course of their residency.

The residencies are between four twelve weeks in duration.

"We're hoping that with each individual artist we can develop some type of outreach program which may include artist talks, lectures, as well as the possibility of exhibition, and even the possibility of them offering some type of workshop," he said.

Of course, the other objective of the program, which Yuhasz deems the more important, is to present an opportunity to the incoming artist.

"[We] are providing the artist with time and space to concentrate on researching, developing, and producing a new body of work or an ongoing body of work.[The artist] gets the facilities, the studio space and time to work."

The program does not yet include travel expenses or a stipend, though Yuhasz would like to eventually see the program expand.

While applications are currently being considered on an ongoing basis for residencies beginning in August, October 15, 2001 has been established as the deadline for spring positions.

"We've already had three inquiries from overseas, just from me sending an email here, and there," said Yuhasz.

"We haven't put out any print material yet. I'll do a mail out in the territory and then in BC. By July we'll do an actual distribution, but that will be geared towards the October 15th deadline."

Yuhasz anticipates a big response-- once the word gets out. He thinks Dawson has appeal to artists who have never been here, precisely because so little is known about what goes on in the Yukon.

"They might know Klondike Gold Rush in Dawson City and have some idea about isolation," he said.

Dawson's location is unique, as future artist-in-residents will get the opportunity to be away from everything-- and yet be somewhere. On Seventh and Princess. In Dawson. In the thick of things.

Also, Yuhasz suggested that other residency programs across Canada usually either house one artist or a large group. DCAS's new residence can hold two artists concurrently.

Despite Dawson's appeal to outsiders, DCAS has some form of a challenge ahead of it, in that they it has to find appropriate candidates, now and fast, in order to start the program in August.

"A lot of times artists have their next two years planned out with exhibitions and residencies or travels. Practicing artists are very busy people. The other problematic thing is that because we're not providing travel assistance, it's very short notice for people to apply for it from the Canada Council or other art councils," said Yuhasz.

The idea for an Artist-in-Residence program originated last year when the ambitious young DCAS (founded in 1998), the umbrella organization of the Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture, developed five "strategic priorities" to take over the world. Or to promote arts in Dawson. Or both.

Aside from plans for the residency, the society vowed to establish consistent year round community art education programs, child and youth programs, art and cultural tourism (involving wilderness arts excursions) and an accredited foundation year program.

Yuhasz describes the society as "a large group of people with a lot of passion and belief in the initial ideas about DCAS and the arts school and the arts center. INSERT check

"We have an incredible volunteer base-- people who put in a lot of hours. They really have a passion for the arts. That's the starting point.

"So we do these things, and then there's all this excitement and support in the community and the territory.

"This year we had our second film festival, and we had films from twelve different countries. Attendance doubled from the first year. Things just seems to be naturally progressing and developing. We're not forcing anything, we're just programming as we go and expanding."

Ultimately, Yuhasz believes incoming artists will create more than a ripple in the community.

"When the artist in residence leaves, people in this town are still here, and still practicing whatever discipline. Although we have artists who come for a short period, their stay has a lasting impact. I'm incredibly excited about meeting artists from across the country, from overseas, talking to them about their work, talking about ideas.

"I'm just thrilled," he said.

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Benj Gallander: From Investment Strategies to Plot Outlines

by Dan Davidson


Yeing-Moi, Caellum and Benj, on the front lawn at Berton House. Photo by Dan Davidson

The trouble with trying to interview Benjamin Gallander is that he wants to know as much about you as you want to know about him. He's collecting material for his own writing and wondering how he can fit you in.

The short story that he's already begun since moving into Berton House in late April shows the amount of attention he's paying to what goes on around him. The tale concerns the community debate over the notion of erecting a town clock. Benj, as he prefers to be called, worked up an amusing beginning to the tale and tried it out at his public reading, turning the piece into a forum for a public discussion of the issue, taking notes as he listened to locals talk about the history of time in Dawson.

While I doubt if I'm interesting enough to rate inclusion in anything he may chose to wrote, this interview was still a contest to see who could get the most information.

Benj does an odd assortment of things: investment counselling, business start-up plans, writing plays, managing artists' groups. It's not the mix you expect from someone who likes to create fiction

For a long time he has kept his various activities separated. Back in 1997 he was on CBC's radio's This Morning talking about the most recent stock market crash. Later in the day he met a fellow tenant in the elevator. This fellow knew Benj as a guy he sometimes played guitars with, so he said, "I knew you were a playwright, but I didn't know you were a business guru."

"That's not me," Benj said quickly. "That's just some other guy with my name.

"He knew it wasn't true and I knew he knew, but that's what happened. There was a point where I could keep everything really separate and, except for people who were close to me, they had no idea that I was working in these two spheres at the same time."

In terms of the business side of his writing, he and his partner are at the point where they can pick and chose assignments, deciding how to promote their own philosophy of investment while still writing for markets that might not agree with them.

He can also afford to get away from some of his commitments for a bit.

"When I came up here one of my goals was to get away from the business stuff. The idea was to get away and write fiction."

It's been about five years since he just did that. In his book, The Uncommon Investor (1998) he blended fiction and non-fiction, setting his investing strategy within the context of a family gathering around the TV to watch the world series. This combined two loves: writing and baseball.

"I love the investment writing, I really do," he said, as if this needed justification. "It's a challenge. I love baseball. I got to write about that and I got to create characters, plus I got present my philosophies about a bunch of things, not just investing.

"One of the couples in the book is actually a gay couple. I wrote it so that people wouldn't know they were gay until 40 or 50 pages into it. They came in early in the book, so people would get used to them and maybe get hooked by the investment stuff if they happened to be homophobic."

Benj enjoys challenges, and likes to meet them in a variety of places. Since finishing his MBA at Dalhousie he's travelled around a lot, working on contracts in Japan and Africa; living in and working for an artists' co-op in Toronto; helping to establish Summerworks, a fringe-like theatre festival in Toronto.

These days his most public forum is a biweekly column in the Globe and Mail called "The Contra Guys", which he writes with his business partner Ben Stadelmann. They've been at it just about a year and a half now, as a spin-off from an investment newsletter they produce at Contra the Herd.com. The web based newsletter is about 6 years old.

Then there are the books. The first was The Uncommon Investor, and this was followed by The Canadian Small Business Survival Guide. A third book in this sequence is complete and just waiting to close the contract when he returns from this break in his routine.

On the artsy side, Benj has had several plays produced, and knows a lot about the process. He's uncertain about his working project in Dawson. It's a novel and he says he's not sure if anybody will buy it, but he's not concerned about that. The work and the change of pace are the key elements of the residency for him.

About a year ago he did a simple outline and about five pages and used it as part of his Berton House submission.

"When I got here I reread those pages and said, 'That sucks'." So he started over, writing at Berton House and at a corner table at Riverwest Coffee Shop on Front Street.

"Part of it for me is just getting it down. Then you can get critical about it, and say it does or doesn't work.

"I was at Riverwest yesterday. I went down with 27 pages and at the end of the day I had 27 pages. I'd thrown out a page and a half, written about another page and marked down a bunch of ideas which will later translate into pages. It was part of the process."

"Just living here - it's a good place to write," he said. He feels inspired by having the Parks Canada tribute to Robert Service just across the street, and the Jack London centre on the next block. He recently took a tour of the Dome subdivisions and was amused to note that all the streets were named after Dawson's three big writers, London, Service and Berton.

Benj has also become involved with events in the community, participating in the weekly basketball games in the school gymnasium and enjoying the company of his partner, Yeing-Moi and their infant son, Caellum, who joined him for part of May and June, thus making the Gallanders the first writing family to use the residence.

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Jimmy Simpson Speaks (A Lot)

by Tom Mrozewski

When I first met Jimmy Simpson I was wandering around the Museum when all of a sudden my fellow employees became excited by some incredible presence in the gift shop. "Jimmy Simpson's here!" goes the word around the Museum. So asks I, "Who on earth is Jimmy Simpson?" and henceforth went about interviewing and getting to know who exactly was this man.

Writing a story based on an interview with Jimmy has at the same time been the easiest and hardest thing of my short newspaper career. For two hours this long-time gold miner from Tennessee spoke of his history as both a miner and a genuine personality around town, and plenty more as well. Jimmy's the kind of guy who needs to be prompted to speak only once every twenty minutes, and in between will give you more information, anecdotes, and passion that you would think possible for one man.

From this predisposition to speech comes the difficulty in writing about Jimmy - his essence could not be captured in any words but his own.

Now, if the reader of this article were not to see that it was only half-way done, that reader would expect said article to end with that admission of defeat. However, this is where I say that you too can experience Jimmy in his own words. On July 5 he'll be making an appearance at the Dawson City Museum to impart his wisdom to and just plain entertain his audience.

What struck me about Jimmy, being the young and urban university student that I am (and therefore ubercool, of course), was the sincerity and passion of a man who has done what he wanted his entire life and seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. Also, he seems to have done an incredible amount of, well... stuff, that his life seems so incredibly alien to today's mentality that dictates that we should go to university for a subject that will land us the best-paying job, jump straight into that career, and live in a suburb. And yet, on meeting and speaking with him, few could deny that he seems so downright content.

Among other things, Jimmy Simpson is also the author and publisher of a book he released a few years ago called The Gold Miner: A Vanishing Breed. The breed he speaks of is the small-scale miner, the "mom and pop" operations. Due to a number of factors, Jimmy tells me, the number of gold miners in the Dawson area is half of what it usually is. His book and his special presentations at the Museum, which he has been doing for about two years now, are a tribute to those who have embraced gold mining as a lifestyle and not just as a job.

Jimmy Simpson will be appearing at the Dawson City Museum on July 5 and most probably later again in the summer, and his book may be found at many fine shops throughout Dawson.

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Attachés Get Some Northern Exposure

by Heather Robb


Foreign military attaches enjoyed a fine feed of local game, courtesy of the Rangers. Photo by Heather Robb

On the weekend of June 23 and 24, Dawson played host to twenty foreign service attachés, making a seven day trek across Canada's North. The Great Attaché Tour is an annual event aimed at cultivating "grass roots awareness," according to tour leader Colonel Pierre Boucher, director of Protocol and Foreign Liaison from the ministry of National Defense.

Each year, different attachés are taken on the excursion which this year began in Ottawa and included stops in Churchill, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Dawson, Cambridge Bay, Nanisivik and finally Iqaluit-- all by private aircraft. This is the sixth year that the tour has included Dawson.

During their stay in Dawson, the Rangers held a wild game barbecue in their honour, with support from the City of Dawson and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in who prepared the meal. As well, the Klondike Visitor's Association provided a hospitality package for the group.

The purpose of the trip was "to educate [the attachés] on governmental, industrial and especially military aspects of the North. Most of them have no idea how big Canada is, what the challenge is to maintain sovereignty in the Northern areas, and how the Rangers play a key role in that," said Captain Chris Snejdar, an employee from the directorate of Protocol and Foreign Liaison who organized the trip.

While the department of Protocol often takes attachés on trips to different parts of Canada, Snejdar stated that this particular one "is the most difficult, because of the long distance-- there's no time to go up ahead and make arrangements. Everything has to be done by phone."

Some of the attachés on the tour are stationed in Ottawa, others in Washington D.C. Some have diplomatic accreditation in both countries. They come from the U.S., China, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Britain, Venezuela, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Lithuania, and Norway.

"It gives them the opportunity to talk with locals in an informal setting, and to get a better understanding of Aboriginal self government," said Boucher.

Local Ranger Sergeant John Mitchell stated that the Rangers were planning to take the visitors to Gertie's after the barbecue, and then fishing and wildlife watching the next day.

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