Our First Nation

The section of the Yukon River from Miles Canyon to the Whitehorse Rapids was well known to generations of First Nations people. Our ancestors called the area Kwanlin, which in Southern Tutchone means "running water through canyon”.

Kwanlin Dün First Nation is a unique and diverse First Nation. We recognize the Tagish Kwan as the original people of these lands.

Our Traditional Territory

Kwanlin Dün’s Traditional Territory extends from Marsh Lake to Lake Laberge along the Tahgàh Cho (the Tagish name for Yukon River).

We traveled the river trail to fish, move to our seasonal camps, visit extended families, or trade with other groups. The banks of the river are lined with fish camps, lookout points, hunting grounds, burial sites and meeting places. Artifacts and unique heritage sites over 9,000 years old have been found.

Our People

The Tagish Kwan had largely adopted the Tlingit language and customs such as organizing our people in clans – Wolf and Crow – as well as observing the potlatch, which we still proudly practice.

Today, our People are of Tutchone, Tagish and Tlingit descent. Many of our recent members also come from other First Nation communities located throughout the Yukon and Northern British Columbia.

Our values, languages and traditions are deeply rooted in our community and in our lands. We camp, hunt, fish, and gather berries and medicines within our Traditional Territory as we have for thousands of years.

Land Claims & Self-Government

On April 1, 2005, Kwanlin Dün’s Final and Self-Governing Agreements came into effect. Our First Nation became one of the first in Canada to select and receive land within a city border. We were the 10th self-governing First Nation in the Yukon to gain treaty protection under Canada’s constitution.

Kwanlin Dün First Nation is guided by our own constitution. It is governed by a Chief and Council, which is elected every three years. There is also a General Assembly, an Elder’s Council, a Youth Council and a Judicial Council.

The transition back from an Indian Act “band” to a self-governing First Nation has brought many changes. Self-governing First Nations have regained jurisdiction over our own internal affairs, our citizens and activities on Settlement Land.

For example, under our agreements, Kwanlin Dün First Nation is able to make laws in the area of health care, aboriginal languages, training programs, social welfare, education, and cultural beliefs and practices. We can pass laws related to the adoption of children, marriage, inheritance issues, and dispute resolution outside of the court system. Kwanlin Dün can make laws related to hunting, trapping, fishing, logging and other uses of our lands.

Kwanlin Dün also provides many programs and services, such as health and housing, to citizens.

Our Cultural Centre

The Cultural Centre was a significant outcome of our land claims negotiations. It represents our First Nation’s return to the Yukon River, our traditional home.

The main purpose of our Cultural Centre is to provide an understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a member of Kwanlin Dün. Our Centre will provide a cultural home for our Citizens through our economy, language, traditions, knowledge, spirituality, and traditional, as well as contemporary ways of life.

Our goal is to share this knowledge with other First Nations, visitors, and members of the public. Through the power of our culture, and the teachings of our Elders, we can make a difference in the world. We can support and work with our people to preserve our traditional way-of-life, protect our lands, and move forward together as a progressive First Nation Community.