Yukon First Nation Leaders, Ministers, Discuss Initiatives in Ottawa Today

    Yukon Premier Speaking alongside Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston at a Yukon Forum in 2017 (Photo courtesy of Government of Yukon)

    The discussions provided context around particular challenges facing Yukon First Nations.

    Discussions have wrapped up with Yukon First Nations Chiefs, Premier Sandy Silver, and Federal Ministers in Ottawa today.

    The talks included discussions around First Nation housing, land-use planning and treaty-loan forgiveness. 

     Kwanlin Dun First Nations Chief Dorris Bill says while the talks have been progressive, there still needs to be change  around structural funding for self-governing Yukon First Nations.

    "It's really about presence and making the ministers understand that we are self-governing First Nations and therefore we are funded differently. Many times when programs and funding pots are announced, it's geared towards on-reserve people."

    Premier Sandy Silver also says discussions around treaty-loan forgiveness were advanced, but that Yukon First Nations have lead the way so far.

    "We should support the treaties through grants rather than going through those repayable loans. What we're asking them (ministers) to understand the unique context of Yukon. In this particular example is the sophistication of the modern treaty and the fact that we've already gone through that process. But in going through that process, Yukon First Nations have incurred over a $100 million dollars in loans in interest over those three decades to negotiate that."

    Grand Chief Peter Johnston says continued conversation with Ottawa is key to ensuring initiatives are being tackled and fulfilled.

    Other important issues raised included the increased protection for the porcupine caribou hear in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, amendments for Nutrition North, and the transition of Yukon College into a university.


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