Dawson City, Yukon Friday, March 15, 2002

Dawson's council gathered in the court chamber of the Old Territorial Administration Building to celebrate the first council meeting in 1902. Photo by Dan Davidson

Feature Stories

Dawson Council Celebrates a Centennial Sitting
Chamber Protests Museum Finances
Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Welcome the Mounties to Dawson
New RCMP Community Constable in Dawson City
KVA Clears New Budget
Trek Numbers Down due to US War on Terrorism
The 103rd International Yukon River Bonspiel
Arts for Employment Readies Students to Market Their Talents
Planning for the Future Through the Use of the Past
Geographic Kids Visit Dawson
Dawson Loses its Travel Agency
Writers Gather for Advice on Honing Their Craft

Welcome to the March 15, 2002 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the 22 photographs and 27 articles which were in the 24 page March 12 hard copy edition. The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, the locally created cartoon "Camp Life", our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other 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. 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. See our home page for subscription information.

Dawson Council Celebrates a Centennial Sitting

by Dan Davidson

An account of the very first council meeting in Dawson City shows that the issues of100 years ago were not much different from those of today.

Mayor Glen Everitt read a few of them into the record of the March 4, 2002 council meeting, which was held in the Old Territorial Administration Building, in the courtroom above the museum galleries, to commemorate that first meeting of a century ago this month.

"When I was reading it," he told the audience of about 10 people, I started to chuckle a little bit, because the issues then - a lot of them - are the exact same issues we're dealing with right now."

These included garbage collection, the solution for which was to build a road to the Yukon River, push it all out there and let it flush away in the spring.

"The mayor is telling the people how the current is fast and it'll all get taken away and save the people a bunch of money."

The biggest expenditure in those days was the horse feed for the fire department, a touchy subject in a town that had already burned down a couple of times by then.

"They were dealing with glacier problems, and water, which were causing problems with the roads. They had to come up with a strategic plan to put good roads in Dawson, an issue which every council has had to deal with since then."

The minutes also complained that the nascent council had no money, which raised a gale of laughter in the room, and they were considering ways to save money, like shutting off the streetlights earlier in the day. They were also looking at new ways to raise money, by means of taxes.

"So-called peddlers" who come to town, sell goods, and then leave without contributing anything to the local economy, were another early issue.

"They bring their goods," read the minutes, "and don't pay a cent to the treasury of the municipality." The council was looking at a way to license them "so they would pay their fair share to the community."

Such a policy was finally enacted about 98 years later by the council prior to the present one.

The 1902 minutes also discussed the possibility of borrowing money to cover programs, and the first bylaw that council passed had to do with dog control.

As John Gould put it, "Not much has changed in 100 years."

The actual first meeting of the council took place in another, smaller room in the OTAB, but that's an office now, so the grander courtroom seemed a good substitute for the evening.

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Chamber Protests Museum Finances

by Dan Davidson


The Dawson City Museum managed to finance the construction of its cold storage facility through the generosity of the John G. Lind family, which donated the bulk of the $589,000 needed for the work. More recently, it has completed a new John G. Lind Gallery, at a cost of $170,000. The board and staff have been very successful at raising money for capital projects, but if it can't find $40,000 for operational needs, the facility may not be able to open in May. Photo by Dan Davidson

The Dawson City Chamber of Commerce is upset that the Dawson City Museum is finding it necessary to make a corporate appeal in order to ensure its ability to open to the public in mid-May.

Kim Bouzane, co-owner of Bombay Peggy's, came to the March monthly meeting wanting to know what the chamber was prepared to do to support the museum and encourage the government to increase its funding.

Steve Touchie, manager of the CIBC (which recently donated $5,000 to the museum) and museum board member, reported to the twenty members present that the museum has not seen a base funding increase from the government in about 20 years.

$23,500 may have been adequate in 1982, Touchie said, but it just isn't in today's world. Since 1986 the value of that territorial funding has declined from 24% of the museum's income to 13.7%.

The City of Dawson has already recognized the problem by restoring its contribution to $10,000 after a one year cut to $2,500.

Downtown Hotel owner Dick Van Nostrand noted that some businesses in town are already corporate sponsors of the museum and do support it other ways, such as donations to the annual fund raising auction.

Bouzane protested that, while the museum is a worthy cause, stepping into the breech was simply going to encourage the government to continue with its policy of underfunding what she called a valuable resource in the community.

It was noted that the Old Territorial Administration Building, which houses the museum, has recently been declared a national historic site. Unfortunately, there is no money that comes with the designation.

In the end, the chamber members voted to send a strongly worded letter to the government protesting the underfunding and demanding that the government meet what members called its obligation to this important historic site and tourism attraction.

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Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Welcome the Mounties to Dawson

by Dan Davidson

Sometimes turnover is very rapid in the Dawson City Detachment of the R.C.M.P. Indeed, if a person had been out of town for the last 11 months and returned now, he or she would recognize only two of the faces at the Front Street office.

Of those, one would be secretary Andrea McGee and the other would be Cst. Jeffrey Kalles. The rest of the regular force is newer than that. Indeed, one Constable, Chris Pratt, who has been here less than a year, is already on his way to a new posting.

This was one of the reasons why the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in first nation decided to hold what Chief Darren Taylor referred to as a "Chew and Chat" gathering at the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Community Hall on February 26.

The potluck opened with a Welcome Song from the Han singers and a prayer by elder Ronald Johnson. The meal was sumptuous and over-catered, as is every potluck in Dawson.

After the meal, Sergeant Tim Ashmore rose to thank everyone for the greeting and introduce his staff.

Part of the evening's activity was to have been the signing of a memorandum of agreement between RCMP officials and the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in first nation, but the police plane had been required for an emergency elsewhere on short notice and the official party was not able to make it to Dawson.

After the introductions Lue Maxwell orchestrated a little trivia contest in which selected members of the detachment were quizzed on their knowledge of the community and its history.

Emcee Clara Van Bibber extended a hearty welcome to all the members of the detachment

The current roster at the Dawson City detachment office includes: Sgt. Tim Ashmore, Cpl. Larry MacDonald, Cst. Jeffrey Kalles, Cst. Myron Friesen, Cst. Curtis Kuzma, Cst. Greg McHale, secretary Andrea McGee

Auxiliary members are: Mark Favron, Gerard Cruchon, Karen and Torben Larson.

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New RCMP Community Constable in Dawson City

by Ken Spotswood, Freelance reporter
Special to the Klondike Sun


Mark Janus, flanked by Chief Supt. Darrell Madill, Edith Fraser, Sgt. Tim Ashmore and Deputy Chief Clara Van Bibber, is sworn is as Community Constable. Photo by Ken Spotswood

Dawson City RCMP have a new First Nations Community Constable to help them in their policing duties around town.

Mark Janus, 35, was sworn in last week during a formal signing ceremony between M Division, Yukon RCMP, and the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.

More than 40 people turned out for the event, including family and friends of Janus. The ceremony was held during the weekly community lunch at the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Community Hall.

Everyone watched with pride as Janus took the three oaths that will start him on his way to fulfilling a long-time ambition of becoming a regular member of the RCMP.

The Community Constable Program is one in which Yukon First Nations can nominate a candidate to begin the training process to become an RCMP officer. Once the nominee passes a mandatory security check, the work begins.

The program is designed to allow the candidates to upgrade their academic and life skills qualifications-such as getting their GED certificate, a driver's licence, first aid and CPR-in order to meet the RCMP's entrance requirements before undergoing five months of formal training in Regina.

"Mark was born and raised in this community, and that's where our priority lies," said RCMP Cpl. Brenda Butterworth-Carr, who heads the Community Constable Program in the territory.

"He'll be a great asset to the Dawson detachment and its personnel. He'll be able to provide inroads and identify issues that will help give their members a better understanding of the people and the community," she said.

"It's one more step in fostering our relationships with the First Nations of the territory," said Butterworth-Carr, who is also a member of the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation of Dawson City.

"For us the program is an aggressive recruiting tool, one that helps to foster relationships between First Nations and RCMP. It's imperative that we continue to develop and do whatever we can to meet the needs of the First Nations because they're an integral part of our clientele."

Prior to swearing Janus in, RCMP Chief Supt. Darrell Madill said: "It's critical to the future of the RCMP in the Yukon that we hire Yukoners. In some cases, like those that have gone on before Mark, they'll join the RCMP and they they'll go on to other parts of Canada.

"By the same token, they may come back-as sergeants or corporals or one day maybe as a commanding officer--and I hope I see that day," Madill said.

"But it's got to start somewhere, and that's what this program will do. This program's going to make sure that people like Mark-and others-have the real potential that we're looking for, that they have the potential the communities are looking for, and they're going to bring those skills to our organization. We're going to be better for it," Madill added, "and you folks are going to be better served for it."

Dawson City detachment commander Sgt. Tim Ashmore said he's looking forward to working with Janus as well as the First Nation on a whole new level.

"This is a partnership where Mark will spend about 50 percent of his time with us, and 50 percent with the First Nation carrying out duties assigned by them," he explained.

"In the memorandum of understanding that we've signed, we'll provide Mark with the training to upgrade any academic requirements that are needed. The Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in will also provide the support. They would like to use him in areas like justice.

"The First Nation is currently in the planning stages of creating a justice system up here. They want to do their own restorative justice initiatives, so we're in the process of dealing with that."

Ashmore said Janus will provide the added benefit of acting as a liaison between RCMP and the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in.

"It gives us a little expertise in helping us investigate matters. He's got the heads-up on who's related to who, and who hangs out with who," he said.

"We're very busy in the summer and it gives us another body. We do a lot of red serge duties, for instance, so it will be nice to have an extra person during the peak tourism season."

Mark's mother, Chris Janus, sat proudly through the ceremony as she saw her son sign himself into service with the RCMP.

"I'm quite proud of my son. It's a very special day," she said. Other members of the family included Mark's sister, Ecka Janus, his aunt Mary Hayden and girlfriend Elizabeth Kiesel.

Janus grew up in Dawson and moved to Whitehorse at the age of 10. He's been back many times over the years to visit family and friends-and he's looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.

As a Community Constable, Janus will wear a regulation RCMP uniform-without the sidearm.

He will be under supervision at all times, and is not permitted to attend a situation that could be dangerous or threatening because he isn't armed.

The Community Constable Program was created in consultation with the federal and territorial governments as well as the Council of Yukon First Nations.

Its goal is to ensure that Yukon First Nations citizens are actively involved with the RCMP in the territory.

Janus is the fourth Community Constable in the Yukon.

Last month Cindy McGinty was sworn in at Pelly Crossing in a similar signing ceremony between the Selkirk First Nation and RCMP.

Margaret O'Brien, a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation, is continuing her training at Yukon College in Whitehorse while working within the city.

Derek Turner, a member of the Teslin Tlingit, has completed his training and has since graduated from the training academy. He's now a full-time member of the Carcross RCMP detachment.

(Ken Spotswood is a freelance journalist currently doing contract work for M Division as a communications advisor.)

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KVA Clears New Budget

The Klondike Visitors Association approved a $2.6-million budget at its annual general meeting in Dawson City Feb. 26.Sixty members attended the meeting and approved the audited financial statements that summarized a $2.3-million investment in the Klondike, the association said this week.

Much of the discussion revolved around the off-season casinos hosted by the KVA and the benefits to the community and Dawson non-profit groups.

The membership elected a new board of directors comprised of Gail Hendley, René Jansen, Jorn Meier, Wayne Rachel, Carol Tyrrell, and John Wierda.

They will join directors Brenda Caley, Tim Coonen, Boyd Gillis, Steve Nordick, Walter Procyk, and Steve Touchie, who are entering their second year of elected term.

Dick VanNostrand, as past-chairperson, also joins the KVA board.

Tim Coonan was elected chairperson for the coming year at a later meeting of the executive.

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Trek Numbers Down due to US War on Terrorism

by Dan Davidson

The three waves of Trek over the Top visitors have come and gone. The snowmobile run from Tok, Alaska, to Dawson and back, with several days of Klondike activity in between, lost ground this year for the first time since it was inaugurated in 1993.

According to Dick Van Nostrand, whose Downtown Hotel gets quite a bit of the business, the final count for the first trek this year was 189. That's down from last years's 224.

Last year a total of 611 trekkers made the three trips to Dawson (plus one in the other direction). The projected numbers for this year looked like 550. This is after nine straight years of growth and an estimate last year that the treks could hit 250 per run.

Van Nostrand says the enthusiasm is clearly still there, but the treks usually have a significant percentage of US military personnel on them, and those people have had to pull out this year. They're all on call in case of another emergency.

It's another spin-off from last September 11th, he says, and it's perhaps the first indicator of what might happen to the summer market.

The second group of trekkers, 140, will arrive in Dawson on February 28, and the third group, around 160, arrived on March 7. The Sun will have a wrap-up report on the Trek next issue.

Reduced numbers or not, the event is still a mid-winter shot in the arm for the Dawson economy, coming right on the heels of a successful Yukon Quest weekend.

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The 103rd International Yukon River Bonspiel

Submitted by Jason Barber


In the absence of a recreation centre the Yukon River filled in as a curling rink for a second year. Photo by Jason Barber

Despite last years prediction that the Dawson Curling Club's 103rd International Bonspiel would be held in the warmth of the new curling club 19 teams braved the cold north wind to do battle for curling supremacy on the Yukon River once again. The majority of participants were again from Dawson City with a couple of Bonspielers traveling in from Whitehorse and Alaska.

The ice this year was moved up river across from the docks and parallel to the Ice Bridge. The ice sheet was shortened by 10 feet from the previous year to allow for more rocks in play. It didn't heave this year and was in great shape for the weekend with only a few runs and minimal negative ice sections. Again the temperatures ranged from -25 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius in the afternoons, although the wind sure kept things cooler than last year.

Tents donated by Rick Reimer / Schmidt Mining were used to keep Connie's Concession and players out of the cold wind. The heating unit graciously donated by Parks Canada helped keep everyone toasty warm between games.

The 103rd International Bonspiel Winners were:

First in the A Event was the Barber-Hanberg rink with Jason Barber, Chuck Barber, Roger Hanberg, and Pauline Frost-Hanberg (with spare help from Vince Fraser and Monica Kulych). The Barber rink upset the surging Duncan Spriggs team for the second year in a row. Odds are the Python's will be back to take the A Event next year.

First in the B Event was the Viceroy Resources team of Liz Warville, Peter Johnson, Steve Johnson, and Brad Thrall. They defeated the Gauthier Team of Denis and Adele Gauthier, Sharon Touchie, and Gloria Baldwin-Shultz. The Viceroy Team keeps improving each year and if trends continue they'll be in the A final as well.

In the C Final the McClements team from Whitehorse made up of Kelly McClements, Isabelle McClements, Jenna McClements, and Paul Middleton beat out the McLeod team of Mark Wierda, Georgette McLeod, Leslie McLeod, and Carlos. This was the last game completed for the Bonspiel finishing up just in time for everyone to head for dinner at Gerties.

And in the D Final the James Koyanagi Rink captured their 2nd consecutive D Event title by holding off the Robert Drapeau team from Whitehorse / Dawson. The rest of the Koyanagi team featured Wayne Potoroka, Stanley Noel, and Dominique Guillett. The Koyanagi team hopes to make it 3 titles in a row next year.

Another fabulous banquet dinner was prepared by Nora Kirstein and Steve Van Bibber. After dinner Dawson Curling Club President Akio Saito thanked all the volunteers, sponsors and participants in making the weekend event a great success. Special mention was made to Mark Castellarin and Jason Barber who spent several hours installing the ice. When proposing that the 104th International Bonspiel would be held in the new Recreation Centre everyone unanimously cheered to have it back on the Yukon River again. We hope all these people will assist in the set up next year (we have your names and know where you live). All participants in this year's Bonspiel received a prize recognizing their participation in the 103rd International Bonspiel. Rick Reimer presented special prizes for best curlers to the Finning team's Rick Gillespie and Randy Loewen for staying at the rink the latest and still making it to the 9:00 am game the next day.

Once again this year's Bonspiel could not have happened without the help of the following people who graciously worked in some way or another before or during the Bonspiel. Connie and Rick Reimer, Akio Saito, Mark Castellarin, Tina Grenon, Edie Henry, Denis and Adele Gauthier, James Koyanagi, Jenny Docken, Rick Gillespie, Chuck Barber, Andrew Van Bibber, Jack Fraser, Rob Caley, Earl MacKenzie, and Jason Barber and everyone who helped pick up a rock at the end of the day.

The Dawson Curling Club would like to thank the following sponsors for making this year's 103rd International "Yukon River" Bonspiel a tremendous success:

Viceroy Resources for the lights, Parks Canada for the heating unit, Kluane Freightlines Ltd. / MacKenzie Petroleum for equipment storage and hauling and other items, Gillespie Equipment Rentals for plowing snow and picking up floor pieces, City of Dawson, Northern Metallic, Schmidt Mining, Computec Embroidery, and Chris Mayes Dawson Fire Dept for some much needed warm water.

Jason Barber, Dawson Curling Club

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Arts for Employment Readies Students to Market Their Talents

by Dan Davidson


In the computer lab at Yukon College Glen Webster (standing) and his students compare their results. They have been trying to copy the design layout of major national magazines. Photo by Dan Davidson

Throughout the winter nine students have been busy studying at the Dawson campus of Yukon College and at Oddfellows Hall campus of the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. Ranging in age from late teens to mid-forties, this group of men and women have one thing in common. They are all interested in the arts and would like to find a way to turn their interest into a job.

For them, the Arts for Employment Program, now in its second year under KIAC's supervision, is a six month commitment to work hard and learn a lot.

There are nine basic components to the program, which began in mid-October and will conclude at the end of April.

Art foundations was a 120 hour course in drawing, painting and print making.

Design and composition was 45 hours of introduction to the elements of design in projects.

Computer studies have been carried out in the lab at Yukon College and have included intense work with such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark X-Press, all of which are used in the making of newspapers, magazines and brochures.

Building on this foundation, the Introduction to New Media deals with web design for the internet.

Career Planning covers such skills as job search, resume planning, the development of a gallery exhibit and portfolio.

Sound and Lighting took the class through the stages of setting up and operating a sound system, including a mixing board.

Introduction to Photography took in everything from simple pinhole cameras, to the use of more complex 35 mm equipment and, finally, the use of digital equipment. Darkroom skills were a must in this segment of the program.

Later in the spring there will be courses in the Basics of Film Making and job of Production Assistant, the latter offered by Vancouver Community College.

Tish Lindgrin, a student in her early twenties, was enthusiastic about the opportunity to focus on art, a area which has always been of interest to her, and try to find ways to apply what she has been learning to her summer employment with the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre.

One of the things Tish has enjoyed about the program has been the group critique sessions, which she said have not been cutting but rather enlightening.

"So far this course is so great. I didn't expect it to be this good. I thought it would be more like a regular course, where you just sit there and listen and listen and listen. Here, it's all hands on."

Gail Calder, in her forties, was very impressed by the amount that the students have been able to teach each other.

"Everyone could get their ideas out ... in a different way," she said, speaking of the time spent with Photoshop. "Someone might come across something (while experimenting) and spend a lot of time on it and you'd go 'How did you do that?' so we'd be learning from each other."

Calder liked the fact the presentations in the course can sometimes be altered in favour of what might be more practical rather than theoretical.

"The group and the instructors are able to work together more ... be more flexible ... to use the time most effectively."

Calder said she is envious of the fact that her younger classmates are getting an opportunity like Arts for Employment so early in their lives.

"I never had this offered to me when I was going to school, but this is something I thrive on: the creativity and this sort of thing. When I went to school it was, 'Oh, you're a girl. You're going to automatically be a nurse or a secretary or a teacher.'

"The opportunity for these kids is just great and we're so lucky to have it in Dawson. It's just amazing."

Indeed, the only criticism that these two, who were selected to represent the group for this interview, had on the program is that it tends to be a bit concentrated.

"All the students agree .... that (the courses) should be longer," Calder said. "We hope that KIAC and the College can find a way to extend it. It's pretty intense learning."

The program is funded by the Klondike Region Training Trust Fund, YTG Advanced Education, Human Resources Development Canada, and co-sponsored by KIAC and the Dawson campus of Yukon College. Classes take place in both buildings.

In addition, KIAC has borrowed equipment from around the community to help stage the course. Five enlargers, from the Robert Service School, the Klondike Sun, Parks Canada and elsewhere, were on loan during the photography course. The Dawson City Music Festival Society loaned its light and sound equipment for another module.

Program coordinator Karen Dubois says that the local response to the program has been simply terrific, not only in Dawson, but throughout the territory. For instance, KIAC inherited a great deal of photography equipment from the estate of the late John Hatch.

Whitehorse photographer Mario Villeneuve has been taking his students through the art of picture taking from its humblest beginnings to the latest developments. He's in his second year with the program and continues to be impressed by the community support.

"I was amazed last year when, within a week and a half we had, basically, begged borrowed and stolen equipment from all over town. I don't think we could have pulled off something like that in Whitehorse. The community really pulled through and, wow!, it was incredible."

In his program, he said, "we destroy photography, and then we build it up again from scratch."

Glen Webster is an import from Beaver Creek who has spent mornings with the students in the Yukon College lab, teaching the basics of desktop publishing and image manipulation.

"The students," he said, "are great."

From his point of view the program lends itself to a lot of crossover possibilities and the students get a chance to see how one area can relate to another.

The program has already seen some spinoffs from last year. Two students from that class were among the artists hired to paint mural backgrounds for exhibits in the newly opened John G. Lind Gallery in the Dawson City Museum. (see last issue)

Karen Dubois has hopes that the program can continue, and grow from year to year. Much depends on funding, for the training program does not come cheaply. This years students, who were sponsored to take the training, were charged a $945 tuition fee and had to lay out $500 for materials.

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Planning for the Future Through the Use of the Past

by Dan Davidson


"Our Land is Our History Book", says one line of this poster while another calls it "our treasure box." Photo by Dan Davidson

A public meeting to discuss the initial stages of the Tr'ochëk Site planning process was held on February 12 in the rechristened Dänòja Zho (formerly Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in) Cultural Centre on Front Street.

The area of the proposed heritage site, known to goldrush history as Klondike City or Lousetown, was turned over to the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in first nation as part of its land claim final agreement in 1998. A steering committee for the area was established the next year. Since then, the area has been part of an archeological study project.

At the same time the committee has been developing a presentation plan for the area, which it also hopes to have designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

The presentation team of Dave Neufeld, Jody Beaumont and Anne Landry had an audience of about 30 people listening as they talked about the objectives and possible uses for the Tr'ochëk site.

The major objectives are spelled out in the land claim

? to recognize, enhance and celebrate Hän culture and history

? to recognize and respect the non-aboriginal heritage aspects of the site related to the Klondike gold rush

? to provide economic activities for the Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in through the establishment of a first class tourist attraction.

The committee is of the opinion that the Tr'ochëk site has a combination of geographical, historical and cultural features which could be developed into a successful tourist attraction without destroying the area's significance.

A typical visit to the site would probably begin at the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre, where guests could board a boat for a trip upriver to the former summer fish camp. Such a camp would be recreated at the site so that visitors could see how life was once lived by the People of the River. There will be ongoing archeological work for some time to come, and visitors will be able to see this taking place. A guided tour of the area could be used to tell its history and discuss the changes that have taken place over the years.

The trip would conclude with the return to the Dänòja Zho Cultural Centre, where there are more exhibits and a gift shop.

The evening presentation was coupled with a display of work by children from the Robert Service School, who had been asked to submit illustrated family histories and family trees as part of a joint project on family heritage.

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Geographic Kids Visit Dawson

by Dan Davidson


Gemma Gould, third from the left, is about to meet two of the Canadian Geographic Kids in front of Parks Canada's Third Avenue Complex, the largest remaining group of Dawson's famous "leaning buildings". Photo by Dan Davidson

The CGKids from Canadian Geographic magazine were in Dawson recently. They were sighted on February 13 on Third Avenue, talking with local student Gemma Gould about the history of the town and some of its more unique features.

The script in one scene called for two of the somewhat overdressed "kids", called Jennifer and Jamie on the show, to meet Gemma in front of what they referred to as Dawson's "kissing buildings". Part of Parks Canada's Third Avenue Complex, this stretch of old shops was stabilized in the leaning posture which has so fascinated artist Jim Robb over the years. Two of the buildings dip towards each other, and do seem almost to be kissing.

The kids have been travelling across Canada over the last few months and their show, which would be seen locally on APTN, has aired features on Prince Edward Island (in search of Anne); Gran Mannan, N.B. (a volcanically formed island); Miramachi, N.B.(where they went canoeing); and Crowsnest, Alberta (near Fort Mcleod).

Their website (http://www.cangeo.ca/) which is part of the Canadian Geographic web presence, features little profiles of the places they have visited and quizzes based on their travels, and identifies the places on a map.

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Dawson Loses its Travel Agency

by Dan Davidson


Ella Patay during her last week at work. Photo by Dan Davidson

After 20 years in the travel business in Dawson City, the last twelve at Gold City Travel, Ella Patay is packing for her own trip. The Patays, Stan and Ella, are moving to Whitehorse to take up new jobs with Alcan Air and Air North respectively.

Interviewed briefly during her last week on the job, Ella said that the move was prompted by a combination of poor business and new opportunity.

Dawson has been shrinking, she said, and the number of people travelling by air has declined, but the real hit came after the September 11 disaster. Without that, she might have held on and waited for the economy to turn around again as she has seen it do before.

Ella's career in the travel business began at Klondike travel, some 20 years ago, and she took up residence in David "Buffalo" Taylor's Gold City Tours offices shortly after he opened on Front Street. At about the same time she established a column called "Ella's Travel Tips" a combination of advertising and good advice, in the Klondike Sun. She's hardly missed an issue since, except when she's been on vacation.

Her departure has no implications for Gold City Tours, which is the umbrella business of which her travel agency was a division. It will continue to offer tours in the Klondike areas, be the agent for Air North, and provide shuttle service to and from the airport.

Ella's last official day on the job will be March 8, but she'll be around for a while after that, cleaning up files and making sure that people who have already made bookings get off okay.

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Writers Gather for Advice on Honing Their Craft

by Dan Davidson


The award winners at the conference were Bill Jackson, Jerome Stueart, Sonia Gay, Graham McDonald, Peter Scott. Michael Reynolds, Jenny Charchun, Patti Flather and Allison Kalnicki. Photo by Dan Davidson

"I've just had one of the best weekends of my entire adult life."

That was the way emcee Miche Genest summed up her experience at the first ever Yukon Writers' Conference as the event wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.

"You've brought me the world I left behind," said poet Erling Friis Baastad as he prepared to present his public reading on Saturday night.

The next day, between events, he stopped to say, "I would never have believed this was possible when I got off the bus in 1974."

Those reactions were common to many of the participants in the conference, who were faithful in their attendance at all the workshops and didn't begin to show any decline in energy levels until after the awards were handed out during the Sunday lunch. Even after that, the remaining sessions were well attended and a lot of people remained for the wrap up session at 4:30.

It would not be possible to report on all of the workshops, but the following is a sample of the variety.

Robert J. Sawyer had the highest energy level of anyone at the conference and enlivened his sessions with a lot of pop culture references to television and film, assuming that many people in his audience would not necessarily be science-fiction readers.

Steven Heighton, Erling Friis Baastad, Stephen Hume and Jay Ruzesky debated the existence of meaning in poetry and were provoked into arguing a bit about the role of poetic presentation in making it obscure.

Kathrine (Agent) Mulders regaled the lunchtime audience with the story of her years on both sides of the publishing industry, using up the last of her voice in the process.

Barbara Dunlop outlined the process she uses to plot novels, relying on illustrations from the movies "The Hunt for the Red October", "Six Days and Seven Nights" and "As Good as it Gets" to make her points. It was a lively session.

Stephen Heighton talked of revision and variety in writing and advised his listeners to "read widely" and to find their individual voices through experiment and imitation. "Your voice will come as you find the bits that are natural to you."

Matt Hughes instructed his audience to find the action in their stories and start them there, discarding whatever merely tells the tale and getting down to the business of showing the characters in action.

In the popular fiction panel, Hughes joined Dunlop and Sawyer to champion category writing. All indicated that they are writing the kinds of books (science fiction, mysteries and romantic comedy) they would like to read.

Sawyer said, "The beauty of writing for a market is that you have one - a market." Dunlop and Hughes finished the sentence with him.

Over one hundred submissions were received for the writing contest, and separated into three categories: poetry, literary fiction and popular fiction. The winner in each category received a plaque, a $50 gift certificate from Mac's Bookstore and a mentor appointment with one of the visiting authors. Second place received a certificate, a $25 gift certificate from Mac's and a mentor appointment. Third place received a certificate, a book from Mac's and a mentor appointment.

Michael Reynolds was the poetry winner, taking first for his entry "Translation of Willow." Jenny Charchun's "Shavasana" came second and Allison Kalnicki's "Circles" came third.

In popular fiction Bill Jackson's novel entry Ernestine's Lake took the first prize, while Sonia Gay's "Forever Pear Blossoms" and Peter Scott's "Wheels of Change" were second and third.

In the literary fiction category Patti Flather was the winner with "Boat People". Jerome Stueart's "Constellations that Fall" and Graham McDonald's "The Wrench" were in second and third place.

There was a overall grand prize winner. Michael Reynolds received a Alphasmart 3000 laptop word processor for his winning poem.

The guest authors did not do the judging, which was carried out by a blind panel.

During the wrap-up Miche Genest sounded the call for a second conference next year. The exhausted organizers, Barbara Dunlop and Marcelle Dubé, looked a little skeptical. They might need a few months to think about it.

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