May 17, 2021
Northern Yukon First Nations Chiefs’ Priorities
NationTalk – The Northern Yukon First Nations Chiefs recently met as part of their commitment to hold regular meetings and prepare for sharing areas of concern with the newly elected territorial government.
Three issues were identified as priorities:
DAWSON REGIONAL LAND USE PLAN
The Northern Yukon First Nations Chiefs have been united in wanting to see collaborative land use plans developed and implemented within their traditional territories and are seeking an opportunity to present to the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission on the urgency of climate change considerations in the region and the interconnectedness of planning regions within the Yukon.
Climate change is occurring at an unprecedented rate within the Northern First Nations’ traditional territories and having widespread impacts, including challenges with accessing the land and rivers, affects on harvesting patterns, exacerbated environmental changes, changes to wildlife and vegetation, and impacts on the spiritual, cultural, mental, and physical well-being of First Nations people.
OIL AND GAS ACTIVITY
The Chiefs discussed ongoing oil and gas related issues affecting their communities, including aging wells within their traditional territories. They also reaffirmed their prohibitions against fracking within their traditional territories and committment to uphold the standard of free, prior, and informed consent, guided by the treaties and land use planning, to ensure the fundamental objective of sustainable development enshrined in their treaties is respected by government and industry.
DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
The Chiefs discussed the struggles their communities have with drugs and alcohol and reiterated their belief in on-the-land programming. The Chiefs are supportive of mental health hubs, but greater interventions are required. The Chiefs are prepared to work together on community-led initiatives, share ideas, and lobby for increased awareness for community-specific issues.
February 14, 2018
45th Anniversary of release of “Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow”
This document is responsible for reshaping relationships between the Governments of Canada, Yukon and Yukon First Nations. Its vision was brought to life through the Umbrella Final Agreement, which was signed 25 years ago this year. The Final and Self-Government Agreements that followed have paved the way for collaboration between governments, and their implementation continues to advance us towards reconciliation. These agreements form the cornerstone of governance in modern Yukon.
March 17, 2017
Federal Meeting on Indigenous Issues
Impacts of INAC split into Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, MMIWC and Child Welfare as well as health concerns of cannabis use, the opioid crisis, First Nation skill development, infrastructure funding for communities, Yukon River salmon, and the Porcupine caribou herd.
January 12, 2016
Response to TRC Calls to Action
Issued detailed responses/updates to all 94 C2A: “Yukon Government’s Deputy Ministers’ Report to the Premier on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”. The Yukon government, in conjunction with First Nations, has undertaken many initiatives as part of ongoing operations that are responsive to the 22 themes set out in the TRC report.
For example, First Nations and the Yukon government are working together to develop school curricula on residential schools, address the overrepresentation of First Nation people in the criminal justice system (offenders and victims), and directly involve First Nation governments in the child welfare system. However, we recognize that more work can and should be done.
Yukon is at the forefront of land claims and self-government in Canada. Eleven of the fourteen Yukon First Nations have settled their land claims and are self-governing, which account for more than half of all self- governing First Nations in Canada. The agreements contain arrangements related to financial compensation, land, harvesting and other matters. They also enable innovative government to government relationships. They help preserve First Nations culture and strengthen the social, political and economic fabric of the territory.
Under these agreements, First Nations have the power to enact laws for the provision of programs and services related to Aboriginal languages, cultural beliefs, health care, social welfare, placement of children, administration of justice and education programs as examples.