Caribou Days About to Get Underway in Old Crow

    Dawson Youth Fiddlers performing at a past Caribou Days Festival (Photo by Suzanne Crocker)

    Multiple events will be occurring over the weekend as part of Caribou Days in Old Crow, including ceremonial activities around the importance of the regional porcupine caribou herd, the signing of a management plan and a declaration to signal the start of a climate change emergency in the community.

    The 20th annual caribou days are set to kick off tomorrow in Old Crow.

    Multiple events will be occurring over the weekend, including ceremonial activities around the importance of the porcupine  caribou herd for Old Crow, the signing of a management plan and a declaration to signal the start of a climate change emergency in the community.

    Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm says education and conservation efforts will mark the start of the event.

    "We're going to start off with a leadership address with myself as well as the rest of the council. This will really kick things off. The day will then go into some presentations around caribou and where we are around our advocacy, education and lobby efforts within the United States. We then will go off into an evening of dance and that kicks off things for the rest of the weekend. There's going to be a lot of variation between community members and celebratory gains."

    Chief Tizya-Tramm says the signing of the management plan that covers 468km protected area of wetlands around the vicinity of Old Crow  has been in the works for quite a while.

    "The Ch'hilli Chik Management Plan is over the Whitefish Park.  This is the signing of  a management plan  that has been worked on for quite a while now. It translates into where the whitefish come from. This is one of a number of management areas the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has been working on. We have a number of special management areas, including in the Crow Flats."

    Chief Tizya-Tramm says the climate declaration being made on Saturday is a signal to the rest of the world that Indigenous people need to have a greater voice around combating climate change.

    "The river broke up slightly early this year. The furs are priming with animals at not the same way they used to. Everything is just changing. With May being the month of crusted snow in Gwitch'in, it's all happening a month earlier. We're asking where the spaces are for the voices of Indigenous people nationally and internationally. We were only just acknowledged in the Paris Climate Accord... when we look at the international table the Arctic Council, the Indigenous participants are non-voting members."

    The community of Old Crow is located in Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation traditional territory in northern Yukon.

     

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