The History of Land Claims and Self-Government in the Yukon

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Land claims and self-government in the Yukon are the result of hard work and determination by a number of trail-breakers. The process began in 1902 when hereditary Chief of the Ta’an Kwach’an, Jim Boss, wrote urgently to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs saying, “Tell the King very hard, we want something for our Indians because they take our land and game”.

In 1973, an organization called the Yukon Native Brotherhood (now the Council of Yukon First Nations), led by Chief Elijah Smith, traveled to Ottawa to present a proposal called Together Today for our Children Tomorrow. This document laid the foundation for the negotiation of land claims and self-government for Yukon First Nations.

Negotiations between Yukon First Nations and the Government of Canada; and later with the Government of Yukon continued for the next 20 years until the Umbrella Final Agreement was signed in 1993. This document served as the foundation for the individual Final and Self-Government Agreements that would follow both immediately and over the coming years. The Ta’an Kwach’an signed their agreements in 2002, 100 years after Chief Boss’ letter.

First Nations Effective Dates Final and Self-Government Agreements
Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation February 14, 1995
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations February 14, 1995
First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun February 14, 1995
Teslin Tlingit Council February 14, 1995
Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation October 1, 1997
Selkirk First Nation October 1, 1997
Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in September 15, 1998
Ta’an Kwach’an Council April 1, 2002
Kluane First Nation February 2, 2004
Kwanlin Dün First Nation April 1, 2005
Carcross/Tagish First Nation January 9, 2006

White River First Nation, Ross River Dena Council and Liard First Nation are the remaining Yukon First Nations that have not concluded agreements.