play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left
volume_up
chevron_left
  • play_arrow

    CHON FM Live Stream

  • cover play_arrow

    Sandy Silver interview April 8, 2022 CHONfm

Story of historic Yukon Indigenous group to be penned

“What we were trying to do, was ensure we had a voice,” says former president of the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians.

Clipping from the Whitehorse Star dated March 17, 1975 (taken from Newspapers.com).

A new undertaking is aiming to document the history of the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians.

 

The Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle has received funding from the Yukon Community Development Fund for an oral history project.

 

The group will be recording Elders as well as collecting photos and old news reports with the end goal of publishing a book.

 

The Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians was founded in 1972 to advocate for Indigenous people who were denied rights like hunting and fishing because they were non-status under Canada’s Indian Act. Many Indigenous women lost their status and had trouble accessing government services when they married non-Indigenous or non-status partners. At the time, the government of Canada would only negotiate the interests of Indigenous people of status.

 

The association also pushed for progressive initiatives when it comes to housing, education, justice, and health.

 

The group existed until the mid 80s when it amalgamated with the Yukon Native Brotherhood, forming the Council for Yukon Indians – now known as the Council of Yukon First Nations – to negotiate land claims.

 

“Equal acceptance through equal participation for a balanced society”

Clipping from the Whitehorse Star dated March 25, 1974 (taken from Newspapers.com).

 

Bill Webber of Kwanlin Dün First Nation was a founding member of the association and served as their president.

 

“There were discussions being made by those people that were under the umbrella of the Indian Act and the non-status people were basically not involved in those discussions. So, it was a matter of trying to organize our people and making representation to ensure we had a say,” Webber told CHONfm.

 

“We pulled together a little committee down in Skookum Jim Hall and started writing a constitution and making ourselves setup under the laws of the Yukon,” said Webber

 

“Then we went ahead and organized locals throughout the territory in every community that would represent our people so that we had input into some of the issues that they faced in the Yukon,” he continued.

 

“Our philosophy was ‘equal acceptance through equal participation for a balanced society,’ and that’s basically what we were trying to do, was ensure we had a voice,” said Webber.

YANSI Board and staff members, 1977-78. Back row, left to right: Art Johns, Bob Green, Larry Barrett, Patrick James, Bill Webber; middle row: Donald Asp, Lucille Stephenson, Virginia Dewhurst-Kettley, Joy Isaac-MacDiarmid, Margaret Joe-Commodore; front row: Marion Wabisca, Debra Holway-Thibodeau, Vi Sanderson (photo provided to CHONfm by Bill Webber Collection).

 

Oversight committee formed

 

An oversight committee made up of former association members has been formed to manage the oral history project. Some of the people involved include Margaret Commodore, former vice president, Victor Mitander, former board member, and Shirley Adamson, former executive member.

 

“I think back often about how a small group of us gathered to talk about the problems we faced because our Status was taken away. I see how fortunate our young people are now because we took that step to right the wrongs that government created. Our story has to be told about the work we did. I am very grateful for this funding and thank all who were involved to make this happen,” said Commodore in a statement.

Clipping from the Whitehorse Star dated February 19, 1973 (taken from Newspapers.com).

Webber anticipates collecting stories and photos will take a couple of months. He hopes the book will be complete by next February.

 

Published February 16, 2022. 

Written by: Dylan MacNeil

Rate it

Previous post

News

Anniversary of “Together Today for our Children Tomorrow” marked by making YFN School Board officially official

Anniversary of “Together Today for our Children Tomorrow” marked by making YFN School Board officially official After a referendum vote, the board was established late last month, but now the formal documents have been signed. Exactly 49 years to the day after “Together Today for our Children Tomorrow” was presented to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Chiefs Committee on Education and Minister of Education Jeanie McLean came together to […]

todayFebruary 14, 2022 252



© 2022 CHON FM || Northern Native Broadcasting

0%